Category Archives: Reflection

I said I was going to take most the summer off and  kind of did although I did a lot of researching and re-organization. One thing I did over the summer was to have a friend conduct a kind of informal survey of local folks who read my blog.  Thanks to everyone who participated. As promised here is a really informal summary of the results.

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The Obligatory Beginning of the Year Post

So the holidays have passed.  They were lovely, thanks.

I had some much-needed downtime to enjoy spending time with my clan. More importantly, I was able to really focus getting back on my regimen, my needs and how they will shape my upcoming year.  This isn’t really a resolutions post so much as it is I’ve sorted out my plans for the year and want to write about it.

I have a few loose ends to tie up on the work front.  Some odd things happen last year.  I wasn’t sure what to do,  so I did a whole lot of nothing while thinking about things.

I know a lot of people talk about phlegmatics being able to change course fluidly when they encounter an obstacle.   I tend to experience it as being split into trickles of indecision moving less powerfully, until coming to rest in a deep dark pool.  But I would guess that neurodiversity plays into that.

So I did a whole lot of nothing, while waiting to gather my thoughts again.  It was refreshing. Eventually the pool overflows and thoughts gain momentum. Water can’t sit still for long, without getting brackish.

Rebecca something the other day along the lines of not being able to move when undecided and it was like she was speaking directly to that deep, still pool at my core.  (By the way, have you checked out her new website? ) Anyway, that spurred me into making some decisions.

I took the first several days of the new year to get my website transferred and updated.   This was not a small task, I do all the work myself, with Adobe Muse.  I am pretty excited to be able to cross it off my “to do” list. Hopefully, this will be the end of my communication woes.

I suppose the biggest change over there is that I am really mixing  up the way I work with clients.  You can read more about it there if you are so inclined. I am trying to free time up for other work-related projects that I prefer to focus on this year, and more travel.  I really want to start “doing” more and sitting at a computer less.

I will try not to neglect the blog.  I have new posts for the ethnomedicine/bean feasa series and a lot of herbal history articles to pepper the blog with.  People seemed to like those, despite being long and heavily references. Other projects I have going that I might explore here on the blog include:

Growing Community
growing community Iowa City Urban Homesteaders I think a lot of you know that I believe helping people make meaningful connections is part of my work. I was considering titling this project “cat herding” because that is what trying to get people together in real life feels like around here, sometimes.  I have  intentions to attempt to re-build a sort of defunct community organization, but I have set boundaries for myself that if no one steps up to help, I am not going to burn myself out on the project.  I need a slytherin friend to remind me of that later in the year.

Homesteading Projects
We have all sorts of new things brewing here, literally.  I got my husband big boy beer brewing equipment for the holidays. We just started our first couple of gallons of mead brewing over the weekend and will start our first five-gallon batch of beer, soon. I got a dress form so I can get back to making my own clothing, properly. A corner of the classroom is slowly morphing into a sewing nook. I have this daydream that I might go back and turn some of the old recipes into proper tutorials but I doubt that it will happen this year.

Gardening Projects
Faoi is in sad need of some tender loving care this year.  My raised beds are falling apart and we have to build a new trellis for our hops vine and do some repairs to the grape trellis.  I also made a lot of bare space last year for planting and am still waiting for another load of mulch from the utility company. I am crossing my fingers that I will find someone who wants to do some work-trade to pay for a class, so put the word out there for me.

My Shiny Old Tea Kettle

Chances are if you’ve been around my blog for any length of time,  you’ve seen this tea kettle.   It is the first thing my husband and I bought together for our kitchen.  I suppose we’ve had it for fourteen years, or so now.   We use it every day.

It had started to get a little dingy over the last few years. It  wasn’t whistling properly any longer and it was taking forever to heat water. One day, back in early November, I noticed that my tea tasted funny that morning and I really inspected the tea kettle.   I realized that a lot of gunk had built up on the bottom while I was ignoring it.   I thought about throwing it away and getting myself one of those fancy electric tea kettles.   I actually had it sitting in the Goodwill pile and had a fancy new kettle in my Amazon cart.

But you know,  I thought about watching it spit and sputter in a vain attempt to whistle and  I felt some compassion for it.  Odd isn’t it,  to feel compassion for something that is failing you?   Having been a broken thing once in my life, I get it.

I looked at it closely and I was pretty sure I could make it work again.   More importantly, I really love my  tea kettle. It has been there for me every groggy morning for a very long time now;  I have  pretty much built my morning routine around the amount of time it takes to whistle.  It has helped me nurse sick little children and make ice tea for special visitors.

The kettle definitely needed some work.  I took a little screwdriver to it and fixed the whistle.  I cleaned it and got some fine steel wool and polished until it was shiny, again.  Every week since then, I’ve been boiling white vinegar in it- cleaning out the gunk that had built up the bottom.

Today, as I was making my morning brew,  I realized that the little kettle is looking pretty shiny and new.   It’s been heating water a lot faster and it tastes better, too.  That’s not to say that there isn’t still some gunk to clean out,  but I love that I was able to make it work again, when others would have given up on it.

Some of my friends accuse me of being afraid of change, or putting too much effort into reclaiming things that are old and broken. I find it ironic, sometimes, that these are the same people who value me for my loyalty.  I am not without common sense, though.  If it quits working again, I will have to replace it.

Today, though,  I am just happy to watch my shiny old  tea kettle whistle.