A Road Map for the New Year 2020

“There is more to life than increasing its speed” Mahatma Gandhi

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artwork by the author

One of my intentions for the New Year is to manage my time more effectively.  As a creative type, I am constantly let astray by shiny distractions – a crow woman of sorts. I found two books that are very helpful on the subject.

41btviico9l._sx329_bo1204203200_“Make Time” by Jake Knapp & John Zeratsky gives clear strategies to simplify and prioritize your day in a way that will give your life less stress and more meaning.  The two authors are self-described “time dorks.” They were so overstressed in their high tech world that they developed simple techniques to really focus on what matters by doing less.  Besides providing you with a simple daily template this book is chalked full of strategies to help you deal with digital distractions, tips to eat and sleep more effectively, and even how to get the most out of your caffeine habit!

Then there is “Manage your Day to Day: Build Your Routine , Find Your Focus, & Sharpen 51gpnuhi4-lYour Creative Mind” published by 99U.  This compact little book is geared more to the creative than Make Time.  There is also some overlap.  Each chapter is written by a different person in creative fields about building a successful creative routine.  The chapters are short, there’s a lot of quotes(I love quotes) and you can open anywhere in the book for a little pick-me-up.

Check these out.  Best wishes for a creative New Year!

 

“If you want to create something worthwhile in your life, you need to draw a line between the world’s demands and your own ambitions” Mark McGuinness

 

 

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The Gifts of December

“the comfort of reclusion, the poetry of hibernation”
― Marcel Proust, Swann’s Way

This is a bit of a holiday card to all my readers.  I am going on a “blogcation, a bit of a hibernation you might say to immerge after the first of the year refreshed with new ideas and new direction.  In this 12th month, the time of pause, I wish all of you a wonderful holiday season and a rejuvenating New Year!

Alanna

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Beyond the sparkling lights

Apples hang in winter’s chill

Red ornaments on leafless branches

That brighten the sleeping orchard

A flutter of chickadees gather about the feeder

Giving me pause to cherish

The gifts of December

 

The Goddess of Lost Things

The Goddess of Lost Things“If you’re not careful you can spend your whole life looking for what you’ve lost.”
― Moïra Fowley-Doyle, Spellbook of the Lost and Found

Being a creative soul, my brain is constantly mulling over new ideas and possibilities for my visual art and writing.  Being absent-minded really means not being mindful of the reality is in front of me in exchange for the reality I’m experiencing in my brain.  My head is often somewhere in the clouds growing flowers.  A really annoying side effect of that part of the creative mindset is losing things- constantly.  I’m working on it.

A few years ago I welded a piece from junk objects I call ” The Goddess of Lost Things.”On her arms, I hang earrings and I have lost in hopes they will return to me (there have been mixed results). Her headdress is made from a rusted pair of garden clippers, some kind of plumbing fitting for her head and various bits of this and that I came across for her body.

This month”s prompt for “The Nuthatch Society,” My petite writing group was “loss,” a topic that can be explored so many ways.  Rather than the serious side of loss, I chose this everyday part of my life.

Where the Lost Things Are

Tucked in burrows, sheltered from the obligations of daily use

I imagine they are gathered

Possessions I once held in my grasp that broke free and claimed their independence

The khaki hat I wore on the Camino de Santiago, left at a resting stop under a tree

How I missed its wide brim as my eyes squinted and my brow perspired under the Spanish sun- such a lucky find for another pilgrim

My prescription sunglasses in a case of mustard yellow, guaranteed to catch my eye, my name address & phone number in black sharpie on the back

No strategy foolproof

The red leather wallet lost years ago that fit so easily in my pants pocket.  Where are you little one?

Earrings – always my most cherished

The mates, now single, put into service as zipper pulls, charms, and bling for art projects in memory of when they made such a darling couple

Hats, headbands & gloves fallen from pockets on ski trails through snowy woods- usually the ones hand-knitted by dear friends

Sets of car keys

The scarf that dropped from my neck as I walked through the bonny highlands of Scotland

Then the myriad of expensive striped wool socks that enter the wash as pairs and then exit a party of one

Unfaithful jokesters

At times the lost return by chance or effort

Like my favorite watch of silver and turquoise from Santa Fe

But not before I bought a replacement on Ebay

Now I have a spare

In the end, it’s the curiosity that haunts me, the perplexing questions of how, when and where the lost were lost

Questions I would like to be answered complete with videos and maps before I die

Have the socks and earrings joined in more diverse pairings?

What new adventures did my khaki hat have?

Unsolved mysteries that will most likely remain as such

But for now blessings to all my lost possessions

Thank you for your service and blessings to the finder if there was a lucky soul

May you go in peace

As I do as well

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“My Head is Full of Flowers”  mixed media monoprint by the author

 

 

 

 

The Art of Garlic

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Susanville Garlic

“Stop and smell the garlic.  That’s all you have to do” William Shattner”

Lately, while others have been inside baking Christmas cookies these chilly Oregon Days, I have been outside planting garlic for the next year.  Some of my friends know me as the “Garlic Queen,” for having developed an obsession for tasty, huge, and beautiful garlic. It’s become an art form for me.  Yes, self-expression in growing garlic!

Being a garlic lover, I became very frustrated with the quality of garlic available in the grocery store.  It turns out IMG-3085that most of the garlic in the USA comes from China! Surprising since garlic is a fairly easy crop to grow that most of it is imported. Thus some years back I began my education in garlic and garlic cultivation.

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Photo by Erin Patterson

Originally from the middle east, 700 species of garlic are now grown around the world.

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Musica garlic

There are two main types, hardneck & softneck . The hardneck garlic has a hard woody stem and puts out a flowering scape (that is used for also used for culinary purposes).  They have fewer cloves than softnecks but are all fairly uniformly large in size. I find they have a longer shelf life than softneck which contradicts other sources. Softneck or “artichoke” style garlic have lots more cloves that get smaller towards the middle.  These are the garlics that can be braided. Each variety of garlic all has their unique flavors and storage life.

I grow Susanville (softneck)  for their “wow” factor. They often can get quite large and have a pretty purple tinge to them.  They make great gifts. For the hardnecks I grow “Musica” for the huge cloves, stronger taste. They also keep a month or so longer.

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The Jacob & Churro sheep of Bide A Wee Farm (photo courtesy Bide A Wee Farm)

I have to give credit to the folks who raise Jacob and Churro sheep up the road at Bide A Wee Farm which I affectionately call “Poo Corner.” The composted manure from these furry darlings makes for great garlic as well as anything I grow in the garden.  I also invested years ago in decent garlic seed from Hood River Garlic. I save the best heads from the img_3077years’ crop for the next. The bigger the clove planted equals the biggest bulb for the next year.  Also worthwhile was purchasing the book Growing Great Garlic:The Definitive Guide for Organic Gardeners and Small Farmers by Ron Engeland which is the bible of garlic growing.

The cloves are all tucked away now in their winter bed with a generous covering of straw mulch They will appear again come summer with the turn of the shovel as delightful bulbs- Christmas in July!

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