Well, it feels like our summer adventures have officially begun!

I found myself somewhat reluctantly packing up this time (truth be told, I cried…moving can be hard for me and this is the third move we have done already in the first year of Sophia’s life!) Now that the moving part is over and our books and odds and ends are all safely packed away, I feel excited for the adventures ahead!

Goodbye sweet little cottage, you’ve been good to us!

Packing up.

We’ve extended our stay on the island, living in the spare bed-room at Ma Rineke and Pa Brad’s house, and it will be another few weeks before we head up to the land to live in a tent. Working on the Airstream is our reason for staying longer, and it is coming along BEAUTIFULLY! David is doing an amazing job, and I love seeing things unfold. The Airstream will live here for the summer until we are ready to head South with it, making for an excellent excuse to come and stay with my mom as often as possible (as if we needed an excuse!)

Everyone keeps saying “what a big project!”

David says it doesn’t feel like a big project….just think how much more work a house renovation would be!

I am so thrilled to be married to a man who can quote Thich Nhat Hanh over tea and then head out to build things with power tools. I love you now and forever David Rain!

(One of the many little projects for the Airstream is to re-paint the blue lettering and stripe.)

Apart from being happy about our new house with wheels being re-modeled, I am thrilled to be living with my mom for a few weeks. Inter-generational living is wonderful with a young baby…..we’ve all felt so happy being together.

I am also thrilled to get a little longer on this magical island, with its winding roads curving through thick green forests, meadows of wildflowers, mossy bluffs, and abundant road-side farm stands!

Oh yes, the life gets pretty sweet on the islands in the summer……

A Beautiful Sunday in the meadow.

Meadow self-portrait.

Enjoying some spring asparagus on the way home. We’ve probably eaten our weight in this sweet, crunchy delicacy this spring (well. not quite. I exaggerate!)

Thanks for reading!

With delicate green love, Katrina Rain.

I have so much to learn about food systems it makes me dizzy!

After slogging through the nightmare of industrialized agriculture and factory farming, I have reached the light in Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma.

Chapter 10, “Grass, 13 Different Ways of Looking at Pasture” has left me feeling so excited and inspired by the possibilities of a “closed-loop” farming practice that I probably shouldn’t write about it right now for fear of being too gushy and coming across as a high-pitched enthusiastic woman who doesn’t really know much about what she is trying to talk about.

Which I am.

But I just had to write a little bit.

I wrote in my last post about the high price of local food and wanted to add this to the discussion.

In the pages of my book, Michael Pollan has just courageously taken part in a chicken slaughter at Joel Salatin’s Polyface farm in Virginia, and is driving South with Joel to meet one of the folks responsible for some of the distribution of said chickens in their path from farm to plate. This following of the path, of food from farm to plate, is Pollan’s MO for the book, and I am seeing more and more clearly that the shorter that path is, the better the outcome for all involved (accept of course the business men at the top of the corporate ladder.) On the drive, Pollan and Salatin get into talking about “the growing local-food movement, the challenges it faces, and the whole sticky issue of price.”

I’ll let Pollan, who is not a gushy, high-pitched woman who doesn’t know what she is talking about, take over:

I asked Joel how he answers the charge that because food like his is more expensive it is inherently elitist.

“I don’t accept the premise. First off, those weren’t any elitists you met on the farm this morning (members of the local community who had come to pick up their freshly plucked chickens.) We sell to all kinds of people. Second, whenever I hear people say clean food is expensive, I tell them it’s actually the cheapest food you can buy. That always gets their attention. Then I explain that with our food all of the costs are figured into the price. Society is not bearing the cost of water pollution, of antibiotic resistance, of food-borne illnesses, of crop subsidies, of subsidized oil and water – off all the hidden costs to the environment and the taxpayer that make cheap food seem cheap. No thinking person will tell you they don’t care about all that. I tell them the choice is simple: You can buy honestly priced food or you can buy irresponsibly priced food.”

It’s true that cheap industrial food is heavily subsidized in many ways such that its price in the supermarket does not reflect its real cost. But until the rules that govern our food system change, organic or sustainable food is going to cost more at the register, more than some people can afford. Yet for the great majority of us the story is not quite so simple. As a society we Americans spend only a fraction of our disposable income feeding ourselves – about a tenth, down from a fifth in the 1950s. Americans today spend less on food, as a percentage of disposable income, that any other industrialized nation, and probably less than any people in the history of the world. This suggests that there are many of us who could afford to spend more on food if we chose to. After all, it isn’t only the elite who in recent years have found an extra fifty or one hundred dollars each month to spend on cell phones (now owned by more than half the U.S. population, children included) or television, which close to 90 percent of all U.S. households now pay for. Another formerly free good that more than half of us happily pay for today is water. So is the unwillingness to pay more for food really a matter of affordability of priority?

As things stand, artisanal producers like Joel compete not on price but quality, which, oddly enough, is still a somewhat novel idea when it comes to food.

“When someone drives up to the farm in a BMW and asks me why our eggs cost more,…well, first I try not to get mad. Frankly, any city person who doesn’t think I deserve a white-collar salary as a farmer doesn’t deserve my special food. Let them eat E.coli. But I don’t say that. Instead, I take him outside and point at his car. ‘Sir, you clearly understand quality and are willing to pay for it. Well, food is no different: You get what you pay for.’

Gushy woman taking back over now: I’m glad Michael of Foxglove farm didn’t tell David and I to go eat E.coli that day at the market when we brought up the topic of pricey local food.

I can often fall into believing the argument of “well, not everyone can afford this so it can’t be a solution.” This is so clearly not true for a number of reasons! I forget that I could easily be someone who could not afford good quality food if I had different priorities.

I know very intimately that my family’s choice to buy good quality food means that I don’t have a new pair of shoes every other week. We don’t own a house, a T.V., a cell phone, a new car, or have the latest style of jeans.

Yes, we do spend about one half of our disposable income on food, much more than the current average of one tenth, but this is a choice I am happy to make. The benefits are immeasurable, and you know something is worth the dollar when you can’t measure the good that comes from it. And while I do like nice clothes, how I dress my body from the inside is more important to me than what I put on the outside of it.

I am feeling very humble when I say this, and so I hope it does not come across as self-righteous, but I can afford to buy good quality food because I choose to. I am very grateful to have the ability to make this choice.

I can afford to buy good quality food because I believe it is more important to feed my daughter well than to dress her well. I can afford to buy good quality food because I believe in farmers who are nurturing the fertility of the land instead of depleting it. I can afford to buy good quality food because I want to remain healthy and to be able to enjoy my good quality food when I am at the end of my life!!

Good quality food is worth it to me. So, lets get out there and buy some honestly priced food! (I much prefer the view of honestly priced over highly priced!)

BTW, if you haven’t yet read Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan, it comes highly recommend by this book-worm.

Onwards with the learning!

Yours in amazing health, Katrina.

The Saturday Market is back! After a winter without it, we are very happy to see it back.

Oh what a joy to have such abundance of fresh, local produce again!

We had a brief conversation with Michael of Foxglove Farm about the economics of local food, squeezed into a moment between people waiting to buy his vibrant fresh produce.

We live on an island with some of the most expensive real-estate in the world, and so we also end up paying a premium for our local food. David and I have discussed this to no end, and mulled over the dilemma of local organic greens that can cost up to a whopping $16.00 per pound compared to organic greens shipped from California that can cost as little as $4.00 per pound. How can it be, we wonder, that a pound of greens grown 1590 km away (or 988 miles), a distance that includes crossing a body of water on a car-ferry, and pre-packaged in a plastic clam-shell be so much cheaper than the pound of greens grown right here on the island and served up in a pile that I have to bag myself?!

Sadly, when you look at dollars per calorie on this island, it makes no sense to buy local. (Not yet, anyhow!)

$16 for the 100 calories that are found in a pound of leafy greens is not a viable answer to the question “how do we wean ourselves off of the oil teat?” Almost no one can afford to pay $16 for 100 calories, even if it is incredible, nutrient-dense greens!

Granted, there are other locally produced foods that provide a better calorie per dollar reality, such as our local cheese factory where you can get close to 1,056 calories for $16.00.

Even better are our local organic eggs, $4-7 per dozen, at 960 calories per dozen.

Still, there is no way that most people can eat locally on this island with the system as it is right now. And that system is even more complex and layered than I ever could have imagined!

Michael brought up things that both David and I were already aware of, the main thing being the fact that there are more people living in the state of California than in the entire country of Canada, which means much less labor for hire at a much higher price. The land is more expensive, the equipment is more expensive (by 200% in some cases), the market for purchase is not as big, and so our local greens are 4 times as pricey.

And, I’m sure, far more than 4 times as nutrient dense. It still leaves most local food a boutique item not accessible to or even desirable to most inhabitants of our fair isle.

Micheal’s greens, by the way, are not $16 per pound, they are $10. We happily bought $10 worth of delicious spring greens and $10 worth of tender asparagus from him, and came home to further mull over a beautiful salad.

So far, all of our mulling has brought more questions than answers. And why is it that when you know more about something, you feel like you know less well what to do about it? Just a few short years ago I thought that if only most people would switch to eating mostly raw, organic food, most or all of the world’s problems could be solved. I want to cringe at the naivety of this now, but oh what a glorious feeling it was, to think that there was an answer to it all!

There never will be just one answer. Smart Cars, Vegan, recycled paper napkins, Raw, veggie oil cars, eco-wheat, corn based styrofoam, none of these things is going to “save the planet.”   There will be millions of answers (the ones that truly make a difference have nothing to do with the economy or consumer goods) and all I have to do is find the ones that work for me and those close to me, while also making sure that the choices I make best support the ability of others, the globe over, to make good choices for themselves.

My friend Courtney said it well:

We can truly opt out of the continuously morphing “what is right/healthy living” wars by daring to know ourselves so intimately that all of our choices are simply an opportunity to explore ourselves and life more deeply. Then we can more enjoyably share our experiences, because we’re liberated of the belief that all others should have the same experience.

It is indeed liberating, and I hope you know that I will love you no matter what you may have in your larder.

xo.

My hope with this post is that parents who have made the choice to home-school their children will feel supported, parents who are considering home-schooling will feel inspired, and that people who are unsure about home-schooling as a viable option to education will start to see its potential!

NOTE: I asked my mom, Rineke, to look this over and share her comments with me and I’ve decided to add them here. They are in red. 

As you may know, I was home-schooled as a child, and would love to add my story to the World Wide Web in support of the beautiful thing that home-schooling can be.

I loved home-schooling!

Here is my home-schooling career (as a kid!) in a rather big nutshell:

My Family in 1985

Elementary School Years:

I went to pre-school when I was 4 and had a lot of fun. When I turned 5, I started kindergarten and I walked to school every morning with my friend Jenny. I have very vivid memories of this year, and I think it is because my public school years were so few that they stand out as something special. I enjoyed parts of kindergarten, and other parts were less than the best.

My mom was not happy with sending me to school, and it was after my kindergarten graduation that she decided to keep me and my three younger siblings home to home-school us. And so I enjoyed the life of a happy home-schooled kid, full of sunlit afternoons, imagination filled hours, and rich life experience that finds me today as an adult who is still passionate about learning and growing. Rineke: I was not happy with sending you to school because the experience started to change you.  You were this very curious, fearless little girl who had huge creative energy.  That year in kindergarten I watched you start to be cautious and look at the world with a little place of fear in you that you would do things wrong.  This made me very sad.  You didn’t lose your sparkle but I was afraid for you.

I also asked my mom who her inspiration was in her home-schooling adventure. Rineke: John Holt was my inspiration.  Back in the 1960’s (I think) he wrote two books, “How Children Fail” and “How Children Learn”.  It has been a very long time but I remember that in a nutshell his theory was that children stop learning because of fear which gets instilled in them while in school, ie fear of failure, fear of being teased, fear of doing things the wrong way.  Babies and Toddlers approach the world fearlessly, and by the time they have been in school for a few years they have often lost that.  It made me very sad, especially when I started to observe this in you (when I started kindergarten.)  He eventually started a newsletter called ‘Growing Without Schooling’ which I subscribed to for a while.

Although the term “un-schooling” was not being used at that time, my brothers, sister, and I were for the most part left to play and to follow our interests, much in line with un-schooling practices being done today. Rineke: Following your interests was what guided me.  To me it was not important what you learned, what was important was that you were following your hearts.  Remember your passion to learn all about the body?  (Both my parents thought I would become a doctor. I became a health nut instead!) The beautiful wild flower books we made?  The hours we spent observing ant hills? The sewing projects?  The baking and cooking? The hours at the beach collecting crabs?  What wonderful learning that all was.

We did have quite a bit of structure during our day as well as lots of free-flow play time, but we rarely used a curriculum for our learning. There was a time when we experimented with a set curriculum created for home-schooling for about six months, but none of us, including my mom, liked it so we stopped. It was loads and loads of fill in the blanks, lots of paperwork to mail back and forth, and didn’t provide any learning opportunities that my mom and dad weren’t already creating for us.

The structure we did have included :

Meals. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner together as a family as well as two snack times between meals.

“Quiet Time” every day during the afternoon. This was a time for each of us to do something quietly on our own such as reading, drawing, or building with Lego. I loved quiet time, and still do!

Cleaning up time. We were taught to clean up after ourselves as we went, but kids are kids and so we also had a whirl-wind clean up time right before bed. We also had days when my mom would tell us that the “Madame Inspector” would be arriving to check on our rooms, so it was time to make them nice and tidy! I can remember that it felt very important to have a nice, clean room for the inspector even when I knew it was my mom behind that Madame Inspector hat, glasses, and coat.

Bed time. One of my favorite memories as a kid is being in my pajamas, cuddled up to one of my parents and all my siblings for story time before bed. My mom also sang each one of us our own special song each night, and we each got to tell her a secret before the lights went out. Bed time was never a struggle at our house and I think it was because my mom and dad made it such a special time, when they gave each one of us some special attention as they tucked us in.

I’m sure that there was more, but these are the big ones that I remember.

The rest of the day was for play, adventure, projects, play, lessons, and play!

My Family in 1988

Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic!?

In addition to my parent’s large book collection, we were big library users and would come home with boxes of books at a time. My mom read to us several times a day, and we also loved listening to story tapes and following along with the book. I was reading before I turned five, and am still the biggest reader of my siblings. My sister who is still much more inclined to practice her music or do yoga than read, didn’t start reading until she was nine. My brother went from not reading at all to reading thick, adult novels overnight at the age of eight and would floor people with his amazing vocabulary. My family is testament to the understanding that all children learn to read at a different pace, and enjoy it much more if they are left to do so.

We were encouraged to write often, and had all kinds of beautiful books, paper, pens, and pencils for writing with. I do remember sitting down and practicing the alphabet, cursive writing, and spelling. We sang the alphabet together, had alphabet art hung over our art table, and had a world full of letters and words.

Numbers came to us via math workbooks but also through baking, shopping, telling time, playing number games, and daily life. It is amazing how many things we do daily that require math and numbers, almost everything in fact! My Oma (Dutch grandmother) was trained as a scientist and felt that math was very important. She created a game with multiplication that had all of my cousins and I scrambling to learn the multiplication table by heart so that we could be tested by her to earn a mystery “prize.” My younger brother was the first to win the prize, and if memory serves, the true prize was knowing how to multiply 8×5 in an instant. I can’t tell you how often I find myself using this skill in my adult life, thank you Oma!

Other activities included drawing and geometry classes from my dad, soccer, swimming, skating, horse back, and music lessons, sewing, dying fabric and wool, spinning and weaving, nature walks, wildflower pressing, book making, carving, chopping wood, board games, cloud watching, fort building, tree house building, fishing, sailing, road trips, science experiements,

When I was 11, and in grade 6, my family moved to a village with a population of 70 people on a very remote Indian Reserve in Northern B.C. My mom went back to work for the first time since my birth, teaching in the one room school house. Our family of four made up one third of the school’s 12 children! This was my first experience with public school since kindergarten (Apart from 3 months of trying out public school in grade four. I loved it but we moved to a big city and I didn’t want to go to a big city school.)

When I was 12/13, and in grade 7, my family moved to a small island with a population of 300 people. My siblings and I attended the public school, about 50 kids in size. It was an adjustment, but moving and starting a new school would be for any child.

High School Years:

When I was 13, my family moved to a bigger island and I started high school in the public school of approximately 700 teenagers. I completed two years there, grade 8 and 9, and did well with the work and got good grades.

When I was 15, my parents took all four of us out of school, and we took a year to travel. We chose Guatemala as a destination, so instead of grade 10 in public school I was exposed to a dramatically different culture and way of life. We went to language school and became almost fluent in Spanish, volunteered at an orphanage, lived on a Finca and grew coffee, beans and corn and learned how to pat out tortillas to be baked on a clay platter over an open fire.

When I was 16, I went to grade 11 for two weeks at the same school where I had attended grade 8 and 9. It was great to see old friends again, but I was not happy sitting through hours of class. By that time I was old enough to notice that it was not many hours of learning, but mostly hours of wrangling between teachers and students, and between students and students, while the rest of us waited to learn something. So, with the support of our parents, my sister and I dropped-out of high school and went to live with our dad (my parents separated when I was 15) and spent the year building ourselves a little cabin on his land.

When I was 17/18, the year I would have graduated, my dad, sister, and I set sail in September and spent the next nine months exploring coastal USA, Mexico, the open Pacific Ocean, and French Polynesia. Words can not express how much I loved this trip! One day I hope to set sail again, with my husband and our children….

University:


My Family in 2002. All of us with high school diplomas or equivalency!

The following year, when I was 18, I moved in with my Grandmother and attended a self-paced adult education program. It took me six months to get all the credits I needed to start college, which I did the following year.

After several years of working and experimenting with different possibilities, I settled on a Bachelor of Fine Art from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. I got straight A’s the whole way through, had a blast, and would love to go back to university some day just for the fun of learning with a community so passionate about education and growth.

Yes, it is possible for a home-schooled, high-school drop-out to go to university and graduate with straight A’s!

Phew, you made it through my nutshell!

What Will These Kids do For Work!?

One concern that seems to come up a lot around homeschooling, especially when it is done  with out a standard curriculum  as my family did, is “What will these kids do for a living when they grow up? Who will want to hire them!?”

Well, I don’t know what any kid is going to do for a living when they grow up, but looking at the recent un-employment rates for university graduates, I would be more worried about them than kids who are home-schooling!

I do know that every kid I grew up with who was home-schooled is currently employed, as far as I know. Here are a few examples

One of them is a cellist for the Del Sol String Quartet in San Francisco (She did a Masters degree in music at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, on scholarships.)

One of them is the owner of a successful raw food cafe in Victoria, B.C. (yes, that would be my sister.)

One of them holds a Phd in math and teaches at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec.

One of them adores St. Bernards and runs her own successful dog breeding company, breeding St. Bernards.

One of them is head management in a Canada/USA wide house painting franchise, currently responsible for running the entire Boston area.

Home-schooled kids do the same things that publicly schooled kids do for a living: all kinds of things!

What about Un-Schooling?

I have been meaning to write about my homeschooling experience for quite some time, and was inspired to do this post now in part by a recent piece done by Good Morning America on Un-Schooling. You can watch the show here, and the follow up here. Rineke: Interesting family.  I am glad they did the follow up interview with the parents because the mom’s final comments helped me understand that her approach was not just a free for all, which is what it looked like in first segment.  I actually believe that children like boundaries and guidance and working as a family towards solutions to problems. (I agree about healthy boundaries and guidance!)

Unfortunately (but not surprisingly), the folks at GMA didn’t present this choice that many wise and loving parents have made for their families in a very positive light.

To tell the truth, I am not all that familiar with the philosophies and practices of un-schooling, but as far as I can tell it is just another term for one of the many ways that parents choose to home-school their children. There are so many different ways to home-school, from the family that closely follows a set curriculum in a special room created to be the classroom, to families like mine where there are lessons and workbooks fitted organically into the day, to the radical new un-schoolers!

Some Closing Thoughts on Homeschooling:

As a kid, I knew that my siblings and I were doing something different than most other kids. But it was no different to me then than the choice to take horseback riding lessons over soccer.

In other words, it wasn’t a big deal, it was just what my family and I liked to do. I was friends with both home-schooled and public-schooled kids, and we all had lots of fun together just being kids. The way I remember it, the fact that my family didn’t watch TV made me stand out amongst other kids more than the fact that I was home-schooled. My guess is that a kid attending public school in New York City and a kid attending public school on Salt Spring Island would have far and away a more different experience than a home schooled kid and a publicly schooled kid both living in the same town.

The home-schooling “gap” disappears even more in adulthood. Chances are that you have met a home-schooled adult and didn’t even know it! I certainly don’t go around introducing myself as a kid who was home-schooled!

My Family in 2003 (the most recent digital photo I have of all of us together!)

The point of all this story telling of mine is that we have to look deeper, much deeper than the titles that we give ourselves and each other such as “home-schooled.”

I think the key to a happy, healthy child growing into a happy, healthy adult (because that is what this is really all about) is to be parented by a happy, healthy parent! The distinctions between un-schooled, home-schooled, public-schooled, private-schooled, or other, become less important when we realize the magic of good parenting with its many different faces.

Just as there are kids who succeed with home-schooling, there are kids who succeed with public schooling. Just as I know plenty of glowing examples of home-school success, I know plenty of glowing examples of public school success!

When it comes right down to it, the choice to home-school is a choice that is not much different than the choice to send your kids to a private Catholic school, public school, Waldorf school, or the local alternative public school (more and more communities are coming together to create publicly funded alternatives to public school, as seen in Phoenix Elementary here on the island.)

As with any decision, you decide what works best for your children, for you, and for your family, and you do that!

Now that I’ve written such a long post concluding that it is parenting, not homeschooling, that makes the difference, I will have to write another post about just why home-schooling can be so AMAZING, special, magical, and an absolute gift to both parents and children. But perhaps that one can wait until I have some home-schooling experience from the mothering side of things under my belt:)

Ohhh Sweet Honey! (honey at Cafe Bliss)

Something that my intuition and my body has always told me is now being confirmed by some of the very people who worked so hard to bring agave to the mainstream: agave is the worst “bandito” of all sweeteners!

I bought one bottle of agave about 4 years ago after seeing pictures on David Wolfe’s site of a beautiful young woman pouring it down her throat, straight out of the bottle! I thought, wow, a sweetener that is so good for you that you can drink it like water!?

I tried it, I didn’t like it at all. It tasted like corn syrup to me, and made me feel awful. So I went back to what I have always used and loved, honey. Over the years since then, I have had many opportunities to enjoy raw treats made with agave. While I do enjoy them in my mouth, everything after that point is a mess. Or should I say, I am a mess! Katrina + agave = basket-case. I feel edgy, anxious, hungry, grumpy, and all those unpleasant things that go along with blood sugar imbalance. So I do my best to avoid the stuff.

If you are still using agave in your household, please read the following articles and then go and pour it down the drain!

The Agave Blues by David Wolfe

This “Tequila” Sweetener is Far Worse than High Fructose Corn Syrup by Dr. Mercola

Agave Nectar, the High Fructose Health Food Fraud on Natural News

So, that brings me back to honey! I felt inspired to write a little ode to honey….. Honey is magical. Bees are magical. Flowers are magical. Eating honey makes me feel magical.

In Organic Farming and Beekeeping, it becomes a partnership between bee and honey farmer. The symbiosis is beautiful, and as a honey eater I feel tapped into a beautiful, life affirming circle. And, honey is LOCAL! We get our honey from Babe’s Honey Farm, and it is beautiful, and it gives me a pleasant, gentle buzz.

And did you know that bees will produce up to 3 times the amount that they need to survive? In ethical beekeeping practices, both the bees and the honey eaters benefit.

I love visiting honey farms and listening to the hum of the bees. See if you can find a honey farm near you and start to visit whenever you need a little sweetness.

Honey is expensive (at least compared to conventional sugar) but in my mind this is a good thing. It just means we use less of it and are more careful of our consumption. When it comes to sweetener, a little mindfulness is a very good idea! It also means we are paying the honey farmer a living wage rather than paying pennies for sugar grown by people living in abject poverty in countries miles and miles away.

Of course there are other alternatives to sweeten you treats, and honey may not be the one for you. If you are working with blood-sugar issues such as diabetes or candida, you will want to be even more aware of your sweetener choices. The above articles do a good job at listing out other sweeties to choose from.

In closing, if you needed another reason to start buying organic, this might be it. Saving the Honey Bee Through Organic Farming.

I’d love to hear your experiences with agave, and what your household’s sweetener of choice is!

Oh what a birthday I had!

On the day I turned 32, all sorts of beautiful things conspired to find me being handed a set of keys to our very own beautiful vintage AIRSTREAM!!

Do you ever get so excited about something you feel sick? Well, for me this is one of those things.

More to come on our Airstream Dreams soon…..

On my birthday, we drove up north a few hours and a ferry ride away to pick our vintage beauty up. 23 feet of adventure, a home on the road, the wind at our backs, the sun in our eyes, a dream come true. She is a 1971, 23 foot Airstream Safari. I wanted to sleep in it right away, so on the way home we stopped at Rathtrevor Provincial Park and slept amongst the towering pines and cedars. I loved being able to pull in and open the door to our cozy little home. Sophia was enchanted to wake up amongst the forest.

When we arrived back home, one of my dear friends was napping in our house. She had brought along a birthday gift: Wound Powder (and in a re-used tin that says “heaven”.) The perfect gift for a future family of road gypsies….wound powder! Who knows what cuts and scrapes await us out there on the wild strip of highway where we will sail?

Actually, this will probably come in handy more often while we are roughing it on Lasqueti Island for the summer. Life on the road is soft compared to life on the rock!

Wound Powder: Usena, Yarrow, and Turmeric. Dust into fresh cuts and scrapes for speedy recovery.

And eating local is slowly getting more exciting as spring un-folds. Fresh from a local island farm, these are the best asparagus I have ever tasted. Lightly steamed, with a drizzle of lemon juice and a pat of butter.

Basking her little bum in the sun while playing with the shoes. I love how the light makes her look like a little glow worm. We haven’t had a whole lot of sunny days yet this spring….lots of April showers….bringing May flowers we hope!

Sophia making yet another cameo appearance in one of my many smoothie photos….

And to finish:

Happy Earth Day!

Sophia celebrating with some flower pot bandit experimentation, getting down and dirty with some soil.

I love you Mother Earth. May my love and respect for you continue to inform and inspire my life and actions. May I be so blessed as to dance and sleep in your arms for many sweet days and nights to come……

That doesn’t look like a very local breakfast for you Canadians!

Going Local: Step Two;

Be realistic.

My mom asked me the other morning via Skype “So how is your local eating project going?”

“Well,” I replied “I started my day with strawberries from California, and pineapple from Hawaii.”

When Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon, authors of the 100 Mile Diet, decided that early spring day to “eat local” for a year, they dove head first into a diet of potatoes, potatoes, and potatoes. At least until the gardens started to bloom and burst with succulence.

Summer. Now that sounds like a good time to go local! But for now, can I really live without cucumber? So far the foods that we have sourced locally are potatoes, kale, leeks, apples, frozen blueberries, goats cheese, sporadic salad greens, singing nettles, and eggs. That just doesn’t do it for us right now. It could if it had to, but it is hard to buckle into your local seat when the grocery stores are overflowing with imported treats like juicy celery, and don’t even get me started on the chocolate.

This morning I had green juice made with cucumbers from Mexico, celery, lettuce, parsley and bok choy from California, kale from Saltspring Island, and pineapple from Hawaii. It was GOOD! So good that I am not ready to give it up.

So, following are some loose guidelines for this family’s perhaps glacially slow (well, at least compared to Alisa and J.B.) move towards local.

#1. Continue with Banana-Free. Perhaps a token move, but an important one.

#2. When there is a local option, choose local. Often we see local kale or potatoes sitting next to kale and potatoes brought in from California. This step is easy once you remember to read the labels.

#3. Create more local options for ourselves by expanding our awareness of local farm stands, farm gates, and making friends with more farmers. This is something we already do in the summer, but surely someone has parsley growing in their garden right now that we could be eating instead of those California imports!?

#4. Learn more about wild food harvesting. Right now our repertoire isn’t too shabby and includes nettles, miner’s lettuce, salal berries, black berries, salmon berries, thimble berries, dandelion greens, sorrel, licorice root, and pine needles. Still, there are many more things to learn about, including the magical world of medicinal mushrooms, and I feel that these foods are some of the most important and vital for a local diet.

Thought Experiment: Most of these wild foods, while potent in nutrient-density and medicinal properties, do not carry very many calories, and so we have been considering : how would it feel to learn how to hunt, to fish, to collect oysters, muscles, and clams if we had to in order to survive? Interesting things to consider, and while you won’t find me donning a bow and arrow anytime soon, I do think it might be an important skill to have. (Truth be told, I do know how to fish and collect and prepare shellfish. Hunting though….can I stick to more traditional roles of Woman and tend to the hearth fire instead?)

#5. Work consistently yet flowing-ly towards a farm of our own. This has been a dream of both David and I for as long as we can remember: to work the land and live The Good Life like our self chosen Soul~Grandparents, Helen and Scott Nearing.

So for now I am sticking with my not so local green juice, with a strong intention to one day soon be writing about this juice instead:

Katrina Dreams in Local Color Juice:

Cucumber, celery, parsley, kale, apple, and blackberries, all picked fresh and warm from the sun, straight from the garden a few steps from my back door!

Sweet dreams sweet hearts! xo