what to do

Having one of those weeks where I feel like I am getting nothing done. 1) chard is going to seed 2) wormwood needs to be planted 3) front planting bed needs to be weeded 4) various other plants need to go into the ground 5) the hens need access to a dust bath that does not endanger plants 6) kale is going to seed 7) gooseberries are suddenly splitting and dropping to the ground 8) potato plants need to be hilled up and 9) clover needs to be worked into the garden beds… and this just covers the things I actually took pictures of ;0}

But then I am reminded that there is bounty in my garden as well – flowers for the bees and fruit and herbs for us ;0} Italian plums, lemon balm, raspberries, valerian, pears and lavender… and so much more that isn’t pictures here!

I had the day off from work today… which always seems to create a day of urgency, instead a day of accomplishment. It was a 1) rain-boot kind of day! so pulled them on and cuffed up my pants 2) I finally got around to installing the fairy pool and homes (from a local artist group at Kennedy Creek Pottery – they call them bird feeders =0}) 3) went and picked up a few things at the Olympia Farmers Market – had some market dollars burning a hole in my pocket 4) just couldn’t resist the Blondköpfchen (“little blonde head” in German) tomato plant – I grew up in Austria and was blonde back then :0} 5) picked up cherries for hubby and tossed in some garlic scapes 6) added a few more tomato plants, a couple of peppers and a tomatillo 7) in the afternoon, a movie date with my niece (did I mention that I got a picture-text around 3:30 am, from one of four – that’s right, FOUR pregnant sisters (okay! one is a sister-in-law ;0}) in Virginia, with the news that my newest nephew had arrived? James Stephen arrived three weeks early and weighed in at just over 8 lbs.!! The movie choice seemed appropriate – What to Expect When You are Expecting.) 8) met hubby and his work colleagues for dinner… almost stepped on this guy outside the restaurant… he seemed to be enjoying his meal ;0} 9) finally got around to some of my herbs… transferred the dried Calendula to some olive oil to infuse, bottled up dried violet leaves and lemon balm leaves. Then spent an hour collecting feverfew leaves and set them up in the dehydrator.

All in all, a good day… but still so many things to do!! Pulling double shifts the next two days, but then I’ll have a half-day and a day off again! Don’t worry… I’ll find time to take pictures… I always do ;0}


now what


Just spent the last two days at the  Mother Earth News Fair surrounded by like-minded people… okay, some not-so-like-minded people. You know the types, the ones that answer their cell phones right in the middle of the presentation and carry on a conversation… boy, do they get my goat (needed an excuse for a goat picture ;0}) I was there to listen to the presenter, not their cell phone conversation!

Isn’t she a sweetie? [Instagram]

I was there seeking that information that catapults you from unsure to I can do this! I went from workshop to workshop, hoping that this one would be the one. I gathered some tidbits here and there… but for the most part, I didn’t learn anything new. In a few situations, I felt like I knew more than the presenter… SO, have I already hit the I can do this! point and am simply procrastinating putting it all into practice? Am I allowing myself to be herded along with the other sheep … not wanting to stand out in the crowd? (wait for it, wait for it! I just needed another excuse for an animal picture ;0})

good thing I don’t have a farm, cause she would have come home with me!! [Instagram]

So now what?!

What do I do with the tidbits I did collect? Do they just get added to the ever-growing to-do-list? How? How do I use this new information to catapult myself to that next level? Well, I know the answer! I need to apply it!! I need to stop taking notes (not to be confused with documenting or data collecting) and start doing! I need to start scratching some things off my to-do-list!! Will you help me… remind me, if I post my list here?

  • create a seasonal calendar/journal when and how to harvest wild foods/herbs – photo journal?
  • create a bio-time journal – daily weather and temp / what is in bloom and stages of vegetation – add images
  • learn one herb at a time and spend 1 year with it – learn its seasons – don’t think I’ll be able to limit myself on this one ;0}… too much urgency here!
  • add more medicinal plants to hedgerow – keep bee foraging in mind
  • create two more herb beds
  • harvest medicinal plant material
  • make medicines and use them – create a document that lists the medicine and its uses
  • dial-in my food-producing plant guilds – document it with images
  • aquaponics just can’t add one more thing right now
  • plan and plant for year-round vegetable harvest – decide how to extend growing season (plastic, old windows, grow lights)
  • increase diversity and variety of plants (even within a species)
  • plant existing plants (believe me, there are a lot!)
  • get the garden beds weeded and planted
  • share my knowledge and experience – teach a class (that one is scary!!)
  • celebrate!!

I think that is enough for now ;0}


Dear Ben&Jerry…

What does one say at a time like this? We have been together for so long… years really… you have brought a sweetness and richness into my life, like no other. You were there during my university days, when I crammed for finals and pulled all-nighters to complete my term papers (using a card-catalog and on a word-processor, no less). You were there when my roommates were out and I found myself home alone. You were there when he said “I wish I could have two wives.” You understood how that stung… that he was telling me I was second best. You waited for me while I spent 6 months in Moscow, Russia and two months in Duisburg, Germany for internships… I had to put some distance between me and him. You understood. You remained by my side as I struggled with my decision to leave Germany and its possibilities.

You were there as I celebrated with others – my birthdays, college graduation and my first “real” job. You were by my side for far too many lonely nights in my first apartment… as I wondered if I would ever find him. You were there for girl’s night with my Mom and sisters – where we had a rule of “no digging for the good stuff” as we passed you around… you never complained about our movie choices, although others might have… you didn’t even fuss if we had already seen it several times ;0} You were there as I had to be fitted for yet another bridesmaid dress and not my wedding gown (I do have 6 sisters… so it is to be expected, but I am also the oldest, so not really). You were there when I finally met “the one” on-line (you didn’t think I was crazy, even if our families did ;0})… you kept me company on those days where the distance between Massachusetts and California seemed unbearable.

You were there as I struggled as a new wife… transforming our virtual life into a real life… suddenly sharing physical space and not just mental and emotional. You were there as I struggled with infertility… and the empty nursery. You were there when I finally got a job (nanny jobs in Boston do NOT compare to those in California – that was a shock!). You were there when we lost Nessie during our move to Washington… and the many losses since then. You were there as we bought our first home… and stripped and re-finished the floors, and painted the walls and kitchen cabinets.  You were there as I found a better job and quickly moved up within the company. You were there when I saw the writing on the wall and made the move to another company… and celebrated becoming the manager and a bigger, much bigger paycheck. You were by my side when that company closed the doors of my store… and remained by my side as I faced months of rejection and unemployment… You were there as I returned to school as a “mature” student… once again taking exams and writing papers (much easier on a computer – no all-nighters this time).

You were there as I attempted to navigate all the changes that had come my way… as I questioned the future of my marriage and whether I was of any value to anyone… as I wondered if I would ever work again. You were by my side often after I insanely accepted, having actually sought, the job at the weight-loss clinic. I really wish you had spoken up on that one. Now that I think of it, you tried… you showed up almost daily ;0}. You were there as I took on work from home… but found that I needed human interaction. You were there as I waited and waited to hear from that company… the one that had 12,000 applicants for approx. 55 jobs. You were there as I second-guessed my decision to reject a job offer from a different company. It was a job… but I knew I would not be happy, but it was a job. You were there when I finally got that call from the company.


I’ve spent a little too much time with you… as evidenced by the full curve of my hips. I’ve turned to you often in my days of struggle (and a couple of times in celebration). You never complained. You did everything you could… you brought me cookies, peanut butter-filled pretzels, chocolate, nuts, caramel, coffee and cobbler. You even tried yogurt for me. It really isn’t you, it’s me. I’ve changed.

This has to be the end. You no longer have what I need. I’m sure there is someone out there for you… someone who needs you. Don’t hide yourself away. I know someone will see you and stop in their tracks. They’ll swoon and go weak in the knees, as I once did. They’ll open that freezer door, pick you up and bring you home. Heck, some may not even wait that long to open you up and take in all you have to offer.

It was good… very, very good, while it lasted. But I need to move on to something different… I’ll think of you every once in a while. In fact, I’ll be carrying memories of our times together for a few more months, but I’m going to work hard to put it behind me. I hope you understand this is how it must be… we must part ways… spooning with you is no longer an option.


Kari Ann

10 things I know to be true:

1. EVERYTHING has its season… so give your dream some time

2. first impressions are tainted with assumptions… so give ’em a second chance

3. laughter IS the best medicine… try it

4. mankind CAN reverse the damage we’ve done to the earth… if we work with her

5. karma is a bitch… but ONLY if you are

6. community is vital… shared vision can bring about miracles

7. love and hope transform; fear and hate paralyze… I choose love and hope

8. nature heals… turn to the land, the mountains, the sea… and breathe

9. there is always, ALWAYS a choice… even if it is to simply choose to see it from the brighter-side

10. we find what we seek… know what you want so you can recognize it when it is front of you


*inspired by Sarah Kay

what we embrace

One of my favorite quotes… from the movie Chocolat.
I’ve been thinking about it a lot the last few days…
What do I embrace, create, and include?

So my niece made a casual comment that I can’t stop thinking about. She and her family had been watching family videos from a few years back… with no malice at all, this 11-year-old said “you were so pretty back then.”  I knew what she meant, because I’m always thinking about back then… when I was a size 8. I had worked hard to get there… losing 60 lbs. through diet and exercise. The odd thing is that in my mind’s eye, I am still that size 8 body… so much so, that I am genuinely surprised when I see a picture of myself in my real-life size 18!


So now the journey begins again… I’ve let others determine my worth for the last three years… for too long. It no longer matters that the store I managed was one of the 69 stores that closed in 2009, that my resume was overlooked/rejected over and over again for two years, that I accepted an emotionally damaging part-time job – just to have a job… I didn’t know how to value myself without a job. It no longer matters that I turned to food to numb the pain and deep sadness.

I learned to say “no” to job offers that didn’t allow me to be me… that didn’t allow me to be comfortable in my own skin. Those “no’s” allowed me to say “yes” to the co-op I work for now… a company that sees the importance of life balance…

Now I need to tap into that same power to say “no” to some foods and activities (or better said lack of activity) so that I can say “yes” to other foods and lots more activities… and “yes” to a whole pile of adorable clothes just waiting for me to take them out in public… so that who I am in my mind’s eye will be mirrored in snapshots of me ;0}

I must say, this is the calmest I’ve ever faced my struggle with weight. Perhaps it is my new attempt to approach this with kindness… to stop beating myself up for the past and to accept… nay, embrace that I know I have the power to change… to learn to do things differently… better. To face the truth with kindness…

Sometimes my pursuits and passions get blurry. I lose track of what it is that I really want to spend my hours doing. Sometimes the pursuits and passions of others distract me… please tell me I’m not the only one ;0}

No matter what I pursue, it always comes back to photography and creating images… having that camera in hand… focusing in on a detail… or not. Sometimes it is about creating a feeling… even a reminder. That is what this image is about for me – a reminder of my driving pursuit and passion. It is a reflection of me, creating an image, through a raindrop-smattered window of an art supply store in downtown Olympia (the colors you see are their pens and pencils – just the thought of all those glorious colors makes me giddy)… it captures me with my camera in hand, looking at tools of creativity and expression, through the window of a local business… and the rain of the PNW.

For me, this was a moment of clarity… that happened to come on a day where Hubby and I were pursuing our different pursuits and passions… together and yet apart. He was running the Capital City Half-Marathon and asked me to come document it (and cheer him on). That meant capturing the beginning and the end of the race… with anywhere from 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours in between.

So I captured what I wanted at the beginning… but now what was I going to do? It was early on a Sunday morning and the only things open were the local coffee shops. I could have popped in for a coffee, as hundreds of others were doing, but that was too many people for me. So instead I went window shopping ;0}

There is so much eye-candy to be found in our city… you just have to know where to look… I’ll give you a hint; they are all local shops! And so much inspiration… one day, one day soon, my work will be found in one of these shops… at least that is the hope of my heart!!

And of course there were some other things along the way that caught my eye…

The snail is only cute because she is not in my garden ;0}

Are your pursuits and passions a blur? Have you lost focus? What helps you see clearly? Do one thing this week that will help you bring it all back into focus… sometimes just asking the question will get you more clarity. It’s worth a try!