This morning was a momentous one for Tom and I. We left home at 5:30 am to drive out to the future site of the Mustard Seed Village on Camano Island. We were so excited because the poles for our first building – the pole barn classroom were arriving. This may not sound very momentous to some of you but for us it is huge.
Tom bought the land 20 years ago and the dream for an eco-village that can become a centre for Christian imagination and innovation has slowly emerged. We believe that this is a vision that God has placed in our hearts. It is exciting to have a growing circle of friends and collaborators who share the same dream.
This will be a place where people from a wide variety of backgrounds and ages can gather to imagine and create new possibilities for life and faith for the future. are so excited, in spite of the fact that there are still many obstacles to overcome – not the least of these is that we still need $100,000 to widen the road, bring in electricity and complete the first building. If you would like to help we would love you to join our team.
- Pray for us,
- Share our vision with your friends,
- Join us for the Celtic retreat August 17 – 19 and celebrate this project with us.
- Contribute financially to this project.
- Help us recruit students for the CCSP Cascadia semester away program
Last week I posted a list of websites and other resources on community and urban farming. In one of the comments I promised a list of urban farming books. So here it is and to be honest I borrowed a lot from the list at crunchychicken.com, a site which I highly recommend to you as well. I have not read all the books (too busy gardening) but am putting some of them on my Christmas list so that I can go dig into them over the winter months.
1. The Urban Farm Handbook, by Annette Cottrell and Joshua McNichols: the authors share their own food journeys along with those of local producers and consumers who are changing the food systems in the Pacific Northwest. A great book whether you live in the Northwest or not.
2. All New Square Foot Gardening, by Mel Bartholomew. I loved the original version and still find it to be an extremely useful book for planning my garden though I am not quite as obsessional with the grid as he is.
3. The Essential Urban Farmer, by Novella Carpenter: A helpful guide to all things urban farm related. “From day one to market day”, she gives full disclosure on everything you need to become an urban farmer.
4. Urban Homesteading, by Rachel Kaplan: Expert urban homesteader Sundari Elizabeth Kraft shares her hands-on knowledge of: growing organic foods and preserving them; composting; raising small livestock and chickens; generating electricity and biofuels; and other ways to cut costs and live green.
5. Your Farm in the City, by Lisa Taylor: This book is put out by my local Seattle Tilth. Their Seattle Tilth Northwest Garden Guide has been one of my favourite resources for years and I am looking forward to reading this one too.
6. The complete book of Edible Landscaping, by Rosalind Creasy. This was the first book that I bought on urban farming in the days when few people were talking about it. I still think it is one of the best resources available.
7. The Urban Homestead, by Kelly Coyne and Eric Knutzen: According to Crunchychicken.com, this book covers more than you can possibly imagine and will inspire you to try new things. I have not read it yet but have added it to my wish list.
8. Urban Farm Magazine, This is my favourite magazine on urban farming. (along with YES and Mother Earth).
9. Mother Earth News Magazine, This is another favourite which was the source for the no knead bread recipes I posted recently.
10. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Urban Homesteading, by Sundari Elizabeth Kraft: This book covers the basics as well as everything from composting to clean energy. Again I have not read this but it has jumped to the top of my wish list because of its broad base of information.
Would love to hear about your favourite books and resources too.
Over the weekend I have been reading Praying the Psalms by Walter Brueggemann. I have so enjoyed this little gem of a book that I wanted to share some quotes with you. Not only does it address some of the issues of prayer that I am working on in my new book but it helped me to understand why, in a post modern era we are rediscovering the importance of poetry and the arts. I think that what he has to say here can apply to all scripture. In fact I have been thinking about it in regard to Jesus parables. THey have the same powerful ability to bring into being something that does not yet exist. Powerful stuff for us to consider.
In our culture we imbibe an understanding of language that is positivistic. That is, we believe that the function of language is only to report and describe what already exists. The usefulness of such language is obvious. It lets us be precise and unambiguous. But it is one-dimensional language that must necessarily be without passion and without eloquence and indeed without boldness. It is useful language, but it is not the language we have in the Psalms. Indeed it is not the language in which we can faithfully pray….
In the psalms the use of language does not describe what it. It evokes into being what does not exist until it has been spoken…. In using speech in this way we are in fact doing in a derivative way what God has done in the creation narratives of Genesis. We are calling into being that which does not yet exist…..
The first mode of language, appropriate to science, engineering and perhaps the social sciences, when used in the arena of human interaction, tends to be conservative, restrictive, limiting. It can only describe what already exists, and by its very use, deters anything new from coming into being. It crushes hope, for it cannot “imagine” what is not already present. By contrast he bold symbolic use of language in the psalms is restive with what is. It races on ahead to form something new that never was before. This language then with its speech of liberation is dangerous and revolutionary, for its very use constitutes a threat to the way things have been. The creative speech of the poet can evoke new forms of human life which even the power of arms and repression is helpless to prevent….. The language of the Psalms permits us to be boldly anticipatory about what may be, as well as discerning about what has been. (17-19)
Citrus and Mint Iced Tea
I make this tea throughout the summer, though with the way the weather has been in Seattle this year I have not thought about it until this week. It is both refreshing and thirst-quenching, and uses some of the garden produce. We always have an abundance of mint as I grow apple, chocolate and spearmint. All of them work well for this recipe though the chocolate mint is stronger in flavour and so you will need less.
I am hoping that when my seaberry bushes start producing I will be able to substitute their juice for the orange juice. If you grow it in the garden substitute lemon verbena for the lemon juice.
Last year I posted an article about how our food choices are manipulated by the global mall. I talked about Stevia:
which is 10 times sweeter than sugar, easy to grow and with virtually no calories. However it was banned from the American market about the same time that Monsanto introduced its artificial sweetener aspartame because an “anonymous firm” lodged a complaint with the FDA Read more
This year I don’t have any stevia plants because the harvest last year was so abundant. I miss the enjoyment of getting our visitors to sample the incredibly sweet leaves. So now I find myself needing to experiment with using it as a sweetener. I harvest the leaves when the branches look as though they are about to flower and dry them in the microwave – it only takes a minute or two. I usually start with 30 seconds then continue in 10 second increments until the leaves are just dry. When they cool down they will be totally dry.
At this stage I use stevia mainly for beverages, though my friend Cheryl has found that adding 5 stevia leaves straight off the plant to a pot of pears before she cooks them is ample to sweeten home preserved fruit.
I make a Ginger Stevia syrup that I then add to different summer beverages.
GINGER STEVIA SYRUP
- 2 cups water
- 1 – 2 tablespoon dried stevia, crushed – I use a mortar and pestle
- ¾ cup ginger root, finely chopped or grated
- 2 tablespoons vanilla
- ¼ cup lemon juice or 1/2 cup lemon verbena leaves chopped
- 1 cup mint leaves (optional)
Bring water to boil. Add ginger & stevia, as well as the lemon verbena and mint if you are using them. Boil for 10 minutes, strain into a heat resistant container. Add vanilla and lemon juice. This syrup will store in the refrigerator for several weeks.
Homemade Stevia ginger ale
I first started making this recipe when I discovered that most ginger ales have no ginger in them at all and were usually full of high fructose corn syrup.
Add 1-2 oz syrup to a glass depending on how sweet you like your drinks, top with 6 oz sparkling water and ice cubes. Enjoy.
Citrus/ Mint Iced tea punch
- 8 teaspoons Loose Leaf red or black tea Or 8-10 Teabags (I like to use fruit flavoured teas
- l cup (or more) Fresh Mint Leaves
- 8 cups Boiling Water
- 1 cup Orange Juice – or seaberry juice if you have this available
- 1/2 cup lemon juice – or use lemon verbena from the garden
- 1 Orange, Cut Into Thin Slices
- 1 Lemon,Cut Into Thin Slices
- 1 Lime,Cut Into Thin Slices
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup ginger stevia syrup
- 2 litre bottle sparkling mineral water or soda water.
This is a favourite for our summer BBQs & picnics. Put tea & mint in a heat resistant glass or ceramic pot. Pour in the boiling water & steep for 30 minutes. Strain & refrigerate. Pour into a large pitcher. Add orange juice. Add orange, lemon & lime rinds. Add ginger syrup & mineral water and serve with ice cubes. If you prefer a more lemony flavour add 1/2 cup lemon juice or a cup of lemon verbena leaves to the tea mix.
For more stevia recipes visit sugarfreesteia.net
Lord Jesus Christ,
All things come from you,
In whom the ways of life are hidden.
All things hold together in you,
In whom the fulness of God dwells.
All things are reconciled through you,
In whom all things in heaven and earth find peace.
Thanks and praise and glory to you, Lord Christ,
You are the way the truth and the life.
May your kingdom come O Lord,
On earth as it is in heaven,
May our words proclaim it,
And our deeds reveal it
May your kingdom come,
Through me, through us,
This day and every day,
May we feel its heartbeat of love.
May we give thanks today,
For the wonder of love poured out,
For the beauty of life that is given,
For the joy of salvation received,
For the abundance of provision that is shared,
For the richness of friendship we enjoy,
For the glimmer of faith in the midst of doubt,
For light at the end of the tunnel,
For the glory of God in every thought and every moment,
We praise and than our God today.
Lord may I come with all my heart,
And see it centred in you.
May I come with all my mind,
And allow it to be transformed.
May I come with all my being,
And welcome your life in all its fullness.
Jesus expand the borders of our love,
That we might care for friends and strangers.
Jesus increase the love within our hearts,
Thant we might share with neighbours near and far.
Jesus bind us with your cords of love,
That we might be transformed into your image.
God may we look and see what you have placed in our hands,
Five loaves, two fishes, a banquet feast for thousands,
Generosity overflowing, an inexhaustible supply,
May we taste and see, and have faith to share,
Your abundance will never run dry.
I also thought that some of you might enjoy this prayer that comes from Prayer Changes Things
I pray today for ~
Those who are homeless to find Shelter.
Those who are depressed to discover Joy.
Those who are addicted to find Release.
Those who are lonely to find Friend.
Those who are confused or lost to find a Path.
Those who are Heartbroken to know that it will Pass.
Those who are sick to find Healing.
Those who live in darkness to be covered in Light.
Those who are Dying
to know that they have Lived.
I pray today for Peace where there is Unrest,
for love to prevail over All. In The Name Of God Amen…
This morning I posted a link to this inspiring article An Urban Farm in Portland Feeds Local Neighbourhood with Help from the Disabled . It comes from one of my favourite urban farm sites City Farmer News. That made me realize that it is a while since I have posted any urban garden resources so I thought it was time to change that.
Here is the list that I posted last year in More Resources for Creating a Faith based Community Garden
Here are some other great sites to check out:
City Farmer News. This really is a site worth spending some time on. It is based in Vancouver but shares stories from all round the world.
Growing Cities provides a great hub for the urban farming movement in the US but also includes stories from all over the world.
Eagle Street Rooftop Farm. I love this inspiring example of creativity – rooftop farming on the top of an old bagel factor in Brooklyn NY
Reading International Solidarity Centre. This site has some great information on English urban gardens – from rooftops to schools.
Urban Beekeeping for those keen to have there own honey
Vertical Veg another great UK site for those that need to grow up rather than out.
Community Gardens At A Rocha Community gardens are growing in number and size across Canada and elsewhere. A Rocha resources help facilitate starting and maintaining a community garden. Hopefully A Rocha US will soon start a similar network in the US.
Backyard Chickens.com for those wanting to join the current craze for keeping chickens.
Obviously there are many sites out there with great resources for the urban farmer. What are your favourites?
As many of you know, in a couple of weeks we will celebrate our 21st annual Celtic retreat on Camano Island. There is still time to sign up. This year we have a special treat as Jeff Johnson, internationally known Celtic musician will provide music and a special service in the evening. I have used Jeff’s music for years as background for my Advent devotional videos. He is one of my favourite contemplative musicians. Here is a little more information:
Since 1977 Jeff Johnson has produced and recorded a body of work reflecting his journey of faith and creative musings. His many solo projects segue rich instrumental passages with songs that feature Jeff ‘s uniquely interpretive vocals producing soundscapes full of wonder and beauty.
Much of his current solo work is derived from his experience with leading the Selah service, which combines simple Taizé chant and other original choruses, hymns, as well as instrumental passages with Biblical based readings and silent prayer in the church’s rich tradition of contemplative worship.
Johnson is perhaps best known for his collaboration with Irish flutist, Brian Dunning. Their CDs have often been inspired by the evocative stories of best-selling novelist, Stephen Lawhead including the acclaimed Byzantium, which includes a track featured in the Martin Scorsese film, Gangs of New York. In addition, many of their songs have been included on some of the most popular compilations of the Contemporary Celtic genre including those released by Windham Hill and Hearts of Space.
Jeff has recently been collaborating with world renowned guitarist, Phil Keaggy, on the critically acclaimed instrumental CD, Frio Suite and the soon to be released, WaterSky.
Jeff lives on Camano Island, Washington with his wife, Susie. For more information, please visit: www.arkmusic.com
Christ Has Walked This Path music video link:
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