I’m not sure what the weather’s like where you are, but here in Northern Indiana, we’re experiencing a drought this summer. I can’t even remember the last time it rained, so most of this year’s garden time has been watering rather than some of my more ambitious projects. With all the new fruit and nut trees and first year perennials in the blue house’s yard, I’ve spent much of my garden time making sure everything gets a good solid start, but in recent days, even some of far more established Faery Hof yard’s toughest plants have required extra TLC.
Despite this additional responsibility, I’m so grateful to spend meditative time among the flowers, trees, birds and bees, since earlier years involved hauling over 25,000 pounds of wood mulch, dispersing truckloads of compost, and weedwhacking between lawn mowing. This year’s drought means anything unintentional and ignored in poor soil has grown incredibly slowly, which means garden time allows for much more creation and nurturing rather than destruction. While going all Shiva has its merits, I’ve found the peaceful, running water, selected abundance, and intentional growth mirror my own quiet, yet rich retreat state.
I’ll share some photos below, along with links to retreat ideas for those without their own, live-in garden paradise. I hope you enjoy the beauty and healing. I’d also love to know if anyone can identify these prolific volunteers.
At first, I thought they were jewelweed, come to counteract my lovely poison ivy ground cover that I keep meaning to eradicate but haven’t succeeded in fully removing due to proximity of other plants. You can see the mystery plants here on the north side of our house near coleus in a barrel, a zephirine rose, forsythia, rhododendron, “coral bells” heuchera, ferns and the poison ivy. Anyone know what they are?
Aside from these carefree gems, I’m loving these Thai Purple Podded Yard Long Beans. They had a slow start, but once established grow 7-8 inches of each bean per day! You can see them here with volunteer sunflowers in front of them. Thank you, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds!
Last night we had a totally homegrown produce stirfry, including the Thai yard long’s, kalette (which appears to be exactly the same plant as my previously grown tree collards), poblano peppers, parsnip, green beans, Thai and Italian basil, and kohlrabi. We did use some non-homegrown organic, wheat free tamari, ginger, apple cider vinegar, birch sweetener, and a pinch of garlic powder for seasoning. Still, our tongues and tummies sang with homegrown goodness! You can also see our second crock of pickles, started yesterday after removing and cutting up the first batch.
Indeed, it’s cucumber and white scallop squash season! That probiotic rich sauerkraut (shown here with the Perfect Pickler setup for Mason jars) also came directly from the garden, and I’m enjoying the results of double-grown cabbages. If you cut them just right, you can often get two crops out of the same root. All but one of the earlier cabbages are growing strong again. Between all the probiotics and the daily green juices and green smoothies, it feels like spa time as our bodies soak up nutrients and sunshine.
No spa stay would feel complete without fresh flowers. These double hollyhocks needed a trim, and so our downstairs bathroom got a sweet infusion:
David’s mom gets fresh flowers pretty much every week, unless we leave town. Yesterday’s featured cosmos, bachelor’s buttons, pincushion flower, zinnias, echinacea, and Maximilian sunflowers (a less invasive edible cousin of Jerusalem artichokes):
Some people have asked about the blue house (aka Haus Am See) yard, since I don’t show as many photos of that newly planted zone. It’s still getting established, but you can see some fun developments below:
The asparagus half circle has begun to grow in. Next year, that curved, mulched area on either side of the herb spiral will form a 4-6 foot ferny hedge surrounding a round picnic table/gathering area. To the right, you can see one of the nine hazelnut trees spread across both properties. The far right edge shows another of the tree watering rings I’ve needed to bring out again this year. Along the back fence you can just make out more asparagus, some first year hollyhocks, and two of the three paw paw trees. To the upper left, you can see the brand new roof (finally!) on the neighbors’ garage that inspired so much of my earlier vertical gardening.
That thing had been caved in since a tornado in 2009, just sitting there like an immobile, decaying eyesore, despite years of city citations, landlord complaints, offers to provide free labor for the repair and more. It simply would not budge, but somehow, all those Reiki Healing Attunements and magic seem to be taking root, because not only has that garage been repaired, but neighbors also got a new roof and windows for their house. The apartments on the other side have vastly upgraded their tenants, and for some reason, even though Goshen has a rental shortage, at least two of the eight units remain vacant.
Further down that street, another rental sits vacant next to a house for sale. The residents of those units never used to mow their lawns and were often loud and bizarre (in a disturbing, not intriguing way). Now, the yards are neatly mowed, and the houses await residents who fit the rising vibration in the growing radius of Faery Hof and Haus Am See. I find this all so interesting, as I’ve pulled my energy into very focused, hyper local retreat just to what I can see or hear around me — unless we leave town. While our area is mysteriously upgrading, I’ve heard that other spots in town have a big meth issue, and many downtown stores are now vacant.
We don’t intend to stay here long term since we’re winding down our required presence here for David’s parents’ transition to the next phase of their lives. I just find our experiences here so illustrative of how you can raise your own vibration and intensify your own focus and energy and have that ripple around you in healing ways.
A friend and I caught up at the Moringa Tree in Elkhart, and she said she almost missed out house picking me up. At first, I thought, “How could you almost miss this place?? It’s so far afield from the rest of its surroundings. It stands out.” On the way home, though, after driving though dry, blight ridden areas, we almost missed it, too. That demonstrated the reality of a suspicion I’ve also long had that when places or people become so vibrationally different than their surroundings, they disappear.
When we first moved to Goshen, I decided to start eating more cooked food to make my vibration dense enough for locals to see me. At first, I thought everyone was incredibly rude, because they would just ignore me, even while talking with David. Then I began to notice that if he turned to speak with me, people would jump back, startled as though I just appeared out of nowhere. Again and again, people said, “Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t see you there.” Food is one of the easiest ways to moderate the density of your vibration, so adding a little cooked vegan food brought me into more normal range for at least some of the locals. In recent months, I’ve gone back to very, very high raw, lots of green juices, and only super fresh cooked food, and people just look through me again.
Those with strong faery, artistic, or Druid leanings still see the yard and apparently do see me on the rare occasions I venture out in Goshen; however, curious things keep happening with shapeshifting and size. Throughout the day, my own body morphs size and shape — not bloating, totally different body types and sometimes fitting in clothes or styles, other times not at all. Our friend Tim said something similar about our yards — that they “look way bigger than they are,” but what’s funny is that sometimes they look way smaller than they are, as when a car zips by so fast you’d blink and miss the entire block. I’ve been playing with a lot of timeline shifts, magic, sigils, and spending most of my time in Nature, magical studies or phone sessions, so I expected some time bending. Apparently, space is bending, too. With all the rabbits here, it’s a little like Wonderland.
In any case, the Haus Am See yard, continues to fill in and grow. I harvested garlic earlier this year and replaced these troughs with more white scallop squash, lettuce, cosmos, zinnias, red cabbage and sweet potatoes, which will eventually trail and bloom like morning glories. Behind the troughs you can see new annuals, perennials, a gooseberry and the bottom of a witch hazel — all of which will eventually mature into another faery flower patch and woodland:
I find Nature so healing and full of wisdom! Just wandering the yards each day and observing how plants interact with one another, as well as listening to the birds and watching all the critters, bees and beneficial wasps, butterflies and sensing faeries and gnomes fills me with an expansive sense of magic, which continues indoors with all the plants and elements inside. Although we do not intend to stay here long term, I feel called to foster an ecosystem that later tenants can easily maintain and enjoy.
This year’s respite from heavier labor feels just right after life’s intense detour this spring, helping my father in his final weeks, followed by moving my mom from their house of 30 years into a thriving and beautiful set up in her new home and community. After all the hard work, it feels good and right to water and harvest for awhile before finishing my permaculture final project and beginning new writing ventures.
If you long for retreat but don’t have a garden or woods near you, you might find Dana’s recent post on The Druid’s Garden quite insightful: The Druid Retreat For Spiritual Work and Healing, Part 1: Why We Go On Retreat, Preparation, and Herbal Allies. As usual, Dana offers a myriad of ideas and tips for solitary or group healing activities.Those who know they prefer a moderated healing retreat, might appreciate Elicia Miller’s Emotional Healing Retreat in Costa Rica. I’ve spoken with several previous attendees who experienced profound and lasting shifts in only seven days.
Whatever and however you decide to retreat, do take some time for yourself! Resting, nurturing, slowing down and recharging make us all so much more resilient, and when the time comes for action, we will have much more to give — and from a much stronger, deeper place. Wishing you quiet blessings and good things!