I’m actually finding myself jot things down for this list throughout the month – that has to mean something good, right? It’s kind of like when you start keeping a gratitude journal and find your days filled with more things to be grateful for. If I can keep up with this, it will be extra fun to look back and see what things stick around and what don’t.
What I learned in March
Homecoming is taught. Despite reading lots of Wendell Berry over the years, I didn’t fully grasp his emphasis on place until we moved to our new spot (Funky Farms, as we’ve named it. I need to have Grant write up that story). We have quickly developed a real love for this specific place, and it’s something that, even though we loved our old home, it wasn’t anything like the affection we have for this place. I was listening to Laura Dunn’s interview about her upcoming documentary about Wendell and found myself writing down tons of notes, but what really stood out to me was how she explained that Tanya and Wendell prioritized “an education in homecoming” by “simple engagement with their own place” via walks, naming the plants, trees, birds, neighbors, etc. In a culture that elevates travel to exotic places and promotes moving for that next promotion at the drop of a hat, homecoming is not only counter-cultural, but if it’s important to us, it is something that we need to demonstrate to our children in how we live, daily.
Related: I came across this comment from MMM on this post and thought it sounded very Wendell-esque in terms of sticking around your home. The Sleeths talk about the practice of Sabbath as a means of caring for creation for many of the same reasons:
Eat four cups of greens a day. I listened to lots of Health Edge podcasts this month, but this one is a good starting point. They often talk about the importance of dark, leafy greens and encourage people to eat two cups each at lunch and dinner. For whatever reason, that has stuck with me and helps give me a firmer target for each day. Grant and I also watched this TED talk at some point in the last month. We already try to eat a lot of dark, leafy greens, but between lots of Health Edge pods and the Wahls’ talk, we’ve upped our intake and motivation for getting in more greens. We’ve also devoted two whole beds out in the gardens to all sorts of fun greens, so hopefully we’ll find some new favorites to spice things up!
Get outside already. I’m a broken-record on this one (see here and here). I know it’s SO good for me, but my to do list or love of comfort gets in the way (i.e. who wants to go outside when it’s cold and rainy out?!). This great article (read the whole thing) reminded me what I already know: not only is getting outside without any distractions is a necessary part of healthy living for me, but it actually fuels my creativity too. Who doesn’t need some”flashes of insight” in their life?!
“You let the prefrontal cortex rest, and all of a sudden these flashes of insight come to you,” Strayer says. “It supports creativity, positive well-being, reductions in stress. There are all kinds of reasons why it’s helpful.”
To feel a bit better about the current state of affairs, read some history. I was a politics major in college (I went to an old-school liberal arts school where we still called it “politics” instead of “political science”), not because I had any career aspirations to be a politician, but because I loved politics. The 2008 election and its aftermath ruined much of that love for me (hence, the past tense in the previous sentence), but I read Founding Gardeners this month and was reminded of a few things: I love learning about the Founding and the Founders, and that the more things change, the more they stay the same. I also learned SO many great new things about the agrarian passions that tied the Founders together. This was a great winter read to get me extra excited about the coming garden season – and to take my mind off of the depressing state of today’s political environment.
What I’m loving
Indiana DNR Nurseries. This isn’t really applicable to too many of you because most of them require a minimum order of 100 seedlings, but we ordered several hundred native trees and shrubs to plant at Funky Farms for SO cheap thanks to the Indiana DNR. We want to get as much of our property out of turf grass and into food production and/or trees as possible, so we figured we better get started with lots of trees around the perimeter.
Plant Therapy essential oils. I’m not totally on the essential oils’ bandwagon. I do like them, and I notice that they help with certain things, but I’m not an EO-evangelist by any means. But I bought a few oils from Plant Therapy several weeks ago because I liked the company, the price (and the non-MLM aspect, if I’m being honest). I bought some of their Sweet Dreams blend because the kids have been having some trouble falling back to sleep after bad dreams moreso than usual recently. I don’t know if it’s just placebo effect (I make sure to tell them that I’m diffusing sweet dreams in their room at bedtime, so maybe just the name or scent cues them in), but they have been staying asleep better. I like PT’s kids’ synergy blends especially because they’re all safe for kids. I don’t have to do a ton of research to check on the various oils if I plan to use them on the kids.
Outlander. I’ve totally fallen down this rabbit whole. I’m almost finished with book four, and I have got to read something ELSE! It’s a total guilty pleasure, but that’s okay every once in awhile. I do wish I had created a page reading goal instead of just a book goal for the year since each of the books is around 900 pages or more.
Going to bed really early. I don’t know if it was the time change or what, but I have been having an extra hard time getting up in the mornings. The past few weeks, just one night a week, we’ve been going to bed shortly after the kids go to bed (7ish), and it has made all the difference in our weeks. It erases any deficit from staying up a bit too late on the weekends, and, really, extra sleep just makes me so happy any time of the year.
Andrew Bird radio on Spotify. You’re welcome.
What are you learning and loving these days?
Linking up with Emily Freeman, as usual.