Creative Masterpiece!


These amazing photos speak for themselves!

Our neighbors, Rae and Bob, have been creating this fabulous greenhouse for over 2 years.  They used recycled windows and glass doors from the Habitat for Humanity store and built the stunning thermal mass walls from stones Rae has collected over the years.  She created a design like a tree using petrified wood for the branches and carefully selected stones and glass for the leaves.  Some of the stones have faces, as you can see above, and Rae added her “Earth Mother” sculpture as well.  The effect is a stunning testimony of creativity, vision, sustainability, and stick-to-itness.

Their creativity and hard work are an inspiration to me not to give up on my creative dreams.  Perhaps you also have some creative projects you are dreaming of,  are working on now, or have completed and are enjoying.  Please share them here or on the facebook page.  There is also a video of Rae discussing her greenhouse on

Bob and Rae, you rock! (pun intended :))

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Skipping the old, discovering the new

One of the things that a commitment to the mindfulness project brings is a degree of mindfulness when one would rather be mindless (AKA :”vegging out”).  Huh?  Today Susan and I were, for the first time in weeks, unobligated to a planned  activity.  Really, since the launch of this project it seems we have been constantly engaged socially – or preparing to host friends or family.  All of it was wonderful, but it does leave us a bit behind in the project and other areas of routine living.

In the era “BTSMP” (Before The Start of the Mindfulness Project) we would have likely chosen to select some  passive process like sitting through a movie, and having someone else prepare and serve a meal, as a mode of “relaxing”.  This was now off the table of choice.

So instead we chose to focus on starting to learn a new skill – and with it tweak our usual relationship to weeds.  Huh, again?  Part of being mindful includes the relationship to place.  In this case, to the property we live on.  The homstead sits on nearly 6 acres.  When we first discovered this place, weeds of all descriptions largely held sway.

Among many fledgling desires I hold are: 1) Live in harmony with the natural world and 2) develop a first hand and practical knowledge of herbal medicine.  So instead of  heading to town for a meal and a movie we harvested dandelions.  Yup.  After recent rains we had a spontaneous new crop.  We then set about preparing a dandelion tincture.  This was remarkably simple to do.  We dug up the entire plant, washed it thoroughly, chopped it finely, put it in a jar and poured Vodka over it.  The vodka provides the alcohol vehicle for the tincture.

Katrina Blair, something of a local folk hero for the large contingent of “do it with nature” folks in our area has written an awsome book  As it turns out, this ubiquitous plant has a noble pedigree in wild crafted eating and in medicinal herbs.  It’s medicinal value includes gentle detoxification, enhancing digestion, and easing hangovers.

We ended up following the process in chapter one of “the Herbal Medicine-Maker’s Handbook” to get started in this new awareness and developing this new skill.

I think the curious satisfaction of this simple task, and the prospect of opening a new awareness and facility with knowledge and skills that enrich our appreciation and connection to nature, we recognize as another real benefit of just slowing life down and being open to discovery of the new.

Share how you care – your way of appreciating the natural world.

Finding a little order in chaos

Wonderful camping trip with our son and puppy!

It’s been  about 5 weeks since we launched We All Can, and only one of those has been “normal.”  We have taken 3 short trips (graduation, camping, wedding) and have had visits from our wonderful sons totaling 3 weeks.

While very fun, this lack of schedule has been a challenge as we try and launch this new project.  Challenges come in the form of time and fatigue. We haven’t been consistently able to post or to address any area in depth.  We have also discovered that we need to attend to Facebook to get the word out, but since we have no experience with it and our schedules have been discombobulated, learning an additional set of actions and online expectations has been difficult.

We have only this one week before we are off to another short trip and visit from friends.   Most of you are likely well versed in Facebook and other social media.  It is new for us and hopefully we’ll be a quick study and will be able to attend to the We All Can page like a pro (and many of you 🙂 ).

Through all of the fun and frenzy, my focus has been on mindfulness.  I have tried to be more attentive to the way I approach activities.  I am forcing myself to walk slower and to appreciate the movement of my body as I complete daily activities.  I am noticing more details about the play of light and shadow as I cross our land to regulate irrigation systems.  I am focusing on listening carefully to others to honor their beauty and experience.  The result of this had been deeper levels of fun and a magnified richness of the romance of living life.

What do you do when your schedule is hectic and you are tired?  How do you find beauty, rest, or fun?

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