Enjoy This Organic Life Has Exciting News For 2013!

I am excited to announce we have launched a completely redesigned site for Enjoy This Organic Life! The new site will focus on healthy recipes, nutritional information, as well as the provide the knowledge and tools to eat a nutritious, sustainable diet. The new design will allow readers to quickly access recipes categories and nutritional information. We have also implemented a new Facebook fan page that will and a new Pinterest account to give you more ways to enjoy the site. The Facebook page will feature all new posts and the Pinterest account will showcase all of the recipes of the site.

I want this transition to be as smooth as possible for my readers so please take note of the following important information:

URL: The new site address is: http://www.enjoythisorganiclife.com.

RSS: If you follow by RSS feed you WILL NEED to follow the new feed address: http://www.enjoythisorganiclife.com/rss

Email: If you follow posts via email you WILL NEED to add your address again. Go to http://www.enjoythisorganiclife.com/blog and re-enter your email address.

WordPress: If you follow me through WordPress, unfortunately, you will need to choose a new way to follow site

Facebook & Pinterest links can be found on the homepage of the new site.

A diet founded on natural foods nourishes your mind, body & soul. Nurturing our minds, bodies, and souls will allow us live our lives to their fullest potentials! Please join me at the my new site to make 2013 your healthiest year yet!

In Health,
Kristen

Thanksgiving Through My Brother’s Eyes

As I was catching up on google and WordPress reader this afternoon, I came across my brother’s recent blog post: Thanksgiving: My Favorite Holiday.

Oh hey, tears…

I teared up not because I missed my favorite holiday with my super duper amazing family but it truly warms my heart to know he is happy, healthy, and pursuing his passions. And for that, I am thankful.

I cannot wait to give him a giant hug & celebrate his least favorite holiday together soon. At Christmas I will be playing catchup and showering them  with all the reasons I am thankful for them.

Thank you, Brian, for sending such warmth on such a cold, blustery day.

Thirty-Six Years

Happy Anniversary to one heck of an amazing couple. To say I lucked out to have these two as my parents is an understatement. My Mom & Dad are forever the two greatest role models I could have ever asked for.

My Dad taught me to be a ‘tough little cookie’ and a hard worker. He continues, and always has, provided me the space, comfort, and openness to live my life to its fullest potential. He has shown me what it means to be a real man, to put your family first, no matter what. This man is Dedicated, with a capital D, to the Martinek clan. My Mom is lucky, my brother is lucky, I am lucky to be his ‘Daddy’s little girl’.

My Mom. Oh, I could write an entire novel on how important my Mom is to me. She is a woman who radiates wisdom, kindness, honesty, and wholesomeness . Through example my Mom has taught me how to live humbly, stay true to my heart, and enjoy in all the beauty of life. The older I get the more I realize how rare our relationship is – to say my Mom is one of my best friends isn’t something most girls get to say. For that, I am blessed. Her and I cherish our every moment together, which nowadays is far & few between, but we look so forward to the day, soon, I move back home near our farm in Wisconsin. I cannot wait to share in our farming and homesteading endeavors, together.

So, hats off to my Mom and Dad for thirty-six solid years of marriage. Together this amazing duo have shown me what it takes to raise a healthy, happy, and loving family.

And This Is Only the Beginning…

These two came to visit two weekends ago and it was fan-freakin’-tastic to have them here. I love they had the chance to experience first hand the beauty of Whole Circle. We shared three lovely days together – 2 nights at the farm and 1 at a bed & breakfast near Niagara on the Lake – right in the heart of wine country. Saturday we spent the day exploring Toronto and ended with an evening with guitars and singing back at the farm.

Sunday morning we woke up early to milk before heading to Niagara Falls early in the afternoon. After the Falls we toured three wineries in wine country, two of which are the only certified biodynamic in Canada. Below is a snapshot from our spread at Southbrook Winery before we ventured to Ravine Vineyard. We sampled a good amount which led to buying more bottles than anticipated… ha, whoops! I’m not complaining.

Sunday evening we enjoyed a long and tasty dinner at a lakeside farm-to-table restaurant in the small town we spent the night. I talked their ears off about all the great things I’m learning up here, the amazing people that have come into my life, and my million ideas. They filled me in on all the things happening back at home in Illinois, our farm, and things I’ve missed with friends & family. Being without a phone here has me somewhat out of the loop – but I try my hardest to play catch up every once in awhile.


After my parents left it was back to work, work, work…. and play! Courtney, LolaJean and myself attended a Full Moon’s Women Circle Wednesday evening to celebrate the full moon in the presence of women of all ages. We sang, shared stories, and honored the beauty of the moon cycle. I found it quite fitting that while I was sharing my story with the group, a hummingbird flew into view at the other edge of the porch. In Native American culture hummingbirds are regarded as the bearers of joy, life, and love (and it happened to be the first one I’ve seen all year!). What I happened to be sharing with the group at the moment the little bird flew into my view, was how strongly I had been feeling my Grandma’s presence the past week. I felt her strongest at my acupuncture/Reiki a few days prior. It was an incredibly powerful, healing session – I left knowing my Grandma’s spirit is very much a part of my present life that is so rich of joy, life, and love. To say I  feel life stronger now more than ever would be an understatement. My heart, my soul, literally feels like it’s shining from the inside out. All this excitement has my brain exploding with ideas. And this is only the beginning…

Thankfully for you, I have a DIY recipe to share, to spread some inspiration from my exploding brain. Katie actually inspired me to make this toothpaste – which now has me wanting to brush my teeth four times a day. No joke. I look forward to waking up and going to bed just to brush my teeth. I swear I am normal.

DIY Toothpaste

Combine equal parts baking soda and coconut oil in a small glass jar with a wide lid. To begin I started with 4 TBSP of each. Add in a few drops of essential oil of choice: spearmint, peppermint, fennel, etc. I choose peppermint. Optional few drops of liquid stevia extract if desired. Mix well and there ya go! How easy, quick, and cheap. Your teeth will never feel cleaner and your smile will be brighter, promise!

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In other farming related news – we’ve been hit hard by colorado potato beetle and flea beetles. We lost most our potato crop, field peppers & tomatoes, and we had to strip the kale down this week (darn flea beetles destroying my favorite food!). But we harvested gorgeous carrots and red onion in their place Tuesday. Looking forward to fresh carrot juice soon!

I finally worked through my hesitation to feed the pigs alone. Times have changed and I now look forward to chores by myself. The pigs are still crazy but I guess that is what I love about them. Because if they weren’t crazy, there wouldn’t have been that challenge for me to work through.

Rebecca is back at the farm after spending a week recovering in Toronto from an injury. Even though she cannot join us in the field for awhile, it is great to have her back with the family!

Rain & Tears

Things are still going lovely here, despite my choice to write about some rain and my tears. We are harvesting more and more each week… suddenly our harvests, and plates, are exploding with lots of color and flavor diversity. It’s been quite exciting and amazing.

Notice, my excitement for green onions!

Courtney’s excitement (or mere shock of harvesting one nearly the size of her head) for turnips!

We’ve been enjoying the partnerships with local artisans and chefs as well… we have a close relationship with Owner and head chef, Yasser, of Artisanale, a local French inspired restaurant featuring seasonal, local foods. A few weeks ago the entire staff came out to the farm and prepared us dinner. We then all dined together, farmers & Artisanale staff, to enjoy in the beauty of local, organic foods – a true farm-to-table dinner. Yum! Last week we then went to Artisanale as a group to dine in Yasser’s space; lovely all around. And so very delicious.

Ok, so back to the title.

Tears: I am grateful I had a mini meltdown this afternoon before I went back to continue harvesting garlic after lunch. It caught me somewhat off guard but I’m so glad it came when it did. As I was walking into the back field to meet the rest of the team after I completed some greenhouse watering, I contemplated taking a short cut through the field and hedgerow, but decided to follow the path. As I approached the shed, I noticed Johann cleaning off a trailer on the tractor and he told me I could drive it to the field. I know I could have, but was clearly emotional, as two seconds later I was hanging over the edge of the trailer, face in hands, crying. One of the greatest parts of living at Whole Circle isn’t just the experience of farming, but the incredibly open and honest environment. I know I can express any & every emotion and feeling sans judgement. After a few words exchanged of why I was feeling upset, he simply put his arms around me and gave me a big hug. He allowed me to quite literally cry on his shoulder, without feeling the need to console through words. Understanding my needs, a simple embrace was all I really needed at the moment and he got that without me having to say anything. After going so long without crying – months!- it has felt so great to have had two solid tearful moments in the last week. I strongly believe in crying – it is so healthy and therapeutic – I welcome back an emotional and weepy self with open arms. As soon as we parted and he got on the tractor,  I recognized there was a reason I didn’t take that shortcut. Thank you, Johann.

Rain: It RAINED! And it’s currently raining again! We’ve been waiting, patiently for this to come for weeks now. Everyone and everything needs rain: the vegetables, the pastures, the animals, and what I have really come to realize – my body & soul. Endless sun and heat has left me feeling entirely run down somedays, physically and mentally. So, cooler temps, clouds, and rain = bliss! Sing a bit to the rain gods for us, we need more, lots more!

Both the rain and tears made my day and I’m heading to bed in a much brighter mood than I began with. Funny how that works.

Now, I am anxiously awaiting my parents visit in less than 48 hours!

 

 

My Present

I’ve had great intentions to write what life entails here on the farm for over two weeks now. However, time I’ve set aside to write a posting on here, I am turned off as it requires time at the computer. I haven’t wanted to be on my computer for longer than a few minutes at a time since it is more or less a distraction from everything else happening in my life…

The work, the farm, the land, the energy, the people, the friends and farm family. All these are resonating so well with me that I am truly living in my present, not concerned for the past, the future, or anything else that doesn’t serve what is directly in front of me. I am enjoying in all that is unfolding so quickly in my life. The energy that radiates from this land is untangible, breathtaking, and so inspiring. This morning at a local food festival in Guelph, Ontario, I started to get a bit teary eyed talking to a customer about my experience on the farm. Not just about how much I absolutley love Whole Circle but this entire area of Canada – it’s so wonderful! And again I felt some tears, with a friend I’ve quickly bonded with from Toronto, as we spoke this afternoon about the beautiful energy the farm and the people it attracts creates. In a nutshell, Whole Circle Farm is a life-force, attracting all sorts of wonderful, and I am so blessed part of my life journey is to be here, right now.

So my days for all those who are elsewhere and curious to know….

Each day I work longer hours than I’ve ever had before – waking up sometime between 4:45 & 5:30 depending on the day, and running around until 6-7 pm.  After dinner I enjoy downtime with fermentation projects, reading, yoga, exploring, drawing, various adventures in the kitchen, and enjoying in the company of my farm housemates. I do not have a particular routine nor do I intend to follow one; I allow my day to unfold as it does, doing whatever it is that feels best for me in that moment. I am loving the ease I take each day with. It has allowed me to connect deeper to everything around me as well as everything going on inside.

Here we work Monday – Friday from 6-6. We rotate animal chore days, dinner/lunch preparation, milking, and greenhouse chores on a weekly rotation. Currently I am on the schedule for animal chores and milking Wednesdays, as well as preparing group dinner on Wednesday. So basically my Wednesdays look like this: I wake up at 5:30, head to the barn to begin milking between 5:50 – 6 am. Splitting the work between three people, we milk until the cows are done giving, which has begun to taper off in the past few weeks. I milk with Johann, the farm owner and my Canadian Papa, as well as Graham, the resident animal caretaker and handyman. They have years of experience over me, obviously, and I have quickly become envious of their milking hands. In the time it takes me to milk one pail or less, they’re clear onto their third or fourth. I may be slow but I am enjoying the beautiful, meditative process of milking of such beautiful creatures. To work so intimately with the cows, resting my side against their warm bellies, hearing all their stomach gurgles, smelling in the differences of their milk has been amazing. It may be frustrating when there is a particularly fidgety cow and it takes me even longer, or an udder is small and awkward to milk, or I get stepped on and I’m scared my toe is cut in half… but if these are my greatest “frustrations”, life is pretty good, eh?

The whole farm takes tea break from 7:30-8. Coffee, tea, food – quick – and then back to work. On chores day this means at 8 I head back to the barn to muck out the stalls, feed the pigs, and a few minutes later I join the garden crew in the gardens until noon. Feeding pigs the first time by myself was a bit traumatic for me and in just a few minutes I went from thinking pigs and piglets were ‘oh, soooooo cute’, to oh my god I’m never, ever getting pigs. As I was opening the gate to their area, the pigs began pushing me and the buckets to get to the feed and they won. In a matter of seconds there was feed everywhere (mostly on me), piglets were escaping, the chickens were joining in the chaos (flapping and bkkk bkkking all over the place) and so I screamed for Graham who was thankfully nearby and he came to my rescue. As he finished feeding the pigs for me, we laughed at how ridiculous they (and I) are. He taught me how to properly distract them but I still think they’re insane. Everyone offers to help now, after I made it quite known how much those few moments scared me. I appreciate everyone’s efforts to make me feel better about being taken out by the damn beasts. I’m determined to do it all on my own this week – I think I’m ready. They are beginning to regain their cuteness.

Lunch break is from noon – 1, afternoon work follows until 6. Wednesdays I feed the pigs again around 4 and head in early from the field to begin preparing dinner for the group. At six, the crew filters into the kitchen and we all share dinner around the table, reflecting on the day and bounty of delicious food. Everyone is very much aware of  dietary preferences, however it helps that we all eat almost anything served. There’s only Rebecca and myself who prefer no gluten and my attempts to avoid refined sugar, as well as two non-pork eaters. Other than that – you can cook with as much meat, butter, and whatever else you can get your hands on, and you’re guaranteed all will leave the table full and satisfied. I feel very nourished, physically and mentally, with all the fresh food we eat here… meals are insanely delicious. I’m always impressed at everyone’s ability to single-handedly pull together such wonderful meals in such limited time.

Saturday mornings I’m up even earlier than the week to head to the farmers market. The past four weeks I’ve been joining Courtney at the Wychwood Market in Toronto. I love, love, love this place… I’ve met wonderful people and like I said before the time always flies by. By the time we get home and unload the van, it’s usually after 3 pm and I’m exhausted but feel empowered. Markets are a time to reflect in all the hard work we have done to bring healthy, organic food to the table for others and it’s humbling to partake in those efforts. Long days and possibly too few hours of sleep don’t seem to affect living the life of a farmer, as I am just so darn happy and excited to be doing everything I do in my waking hours.

It’s hard to put into words the love that radiates from here. Someone told me today at the local food fest that as a CSA member, they literally taste the love in the food they recieve from this farm. She said the quality and freshness of our food is unlike that from anywhere else. Even though I’ve only been here one month (it seems like a lifetime, in a good way) I know exactly what she means and why she said that. Everyone at Whole Circle puts so much love into their work, it truly is no wonder our food is growing it.

Other fun things I’ve enjoyed here have been a raw  & vegan festival in Toronto a few weekends ago, beautiful countryside bike rides and runs, yoga classes at a hot yoga studio nearby when my schedule allows, and celebrating the summer solstice last night with a potluck here at the farm. We hosted a delicious dinner with 60-ish friends & family in the backyard on a perfect summer evening. As dusk rolled in, we continued our celebration late into the night around a bonfire in the paddock, farm style at its finest…. complete with s’mores, dancing, singing, guitar strumming, and violin playing underneath a beautifully star filled sky. The cows and their calves were a mere stones throw away… glimpses of them caught throughout the flickering light of the fire.

So, folks, this is where I have been… enjoying in the joy and reveling in the beauty of my present. If my iphoto didn’t recently falter on me, there’d be photos to accompany this recap. So until the glitch is figured out, picture an ideal farm life, and I’m pretty much living that.

Source: etsy.com via Katy on Pinterest

Wisdom From the Seed

Stumbled upon this in a magazine leaving the co-op this evening…

“The seed cannot know what is going to happen, the seed has never known the flower. And the seed cannot even beleive that he has the potentiality to become a beautiful flower. Long is the journey, and it is always safer not to go on that journey because unknown is the path, nothing is guaranteed. Nothing can be guaranteed. Thousand and one are the hazards of the journey, many are the pitfalls-and the seed is secure, hidden inside a hard core. but the seed tries, it makes an effort; it drops the hard shell which is its security, it starts moving. Immediately the fight starts: the struggle with the soil, with the stones, with the rocks. And the seed was very hard and the sprout will be very, very soft and dangers will by many. There was no danger for the seed, the seed could have survived for millenia, but for the sprout many are the dangers. But the sprout starts towards the unknown, towards the sun, towards the source of light, not knowing where, not konwing why, but a dream possesses the seed and thes seed moves. The same is the path for man. It is arduous. Much courage will be needed” – Osho

believe in your seed :)

Source: piccsy.com via Somatra on Pinterest

Moving On Up!

Literally.

As in I am moving up to….

CANADA!!!!!

I’ve been wanting to write about this for awhile but first wanted to make sure my visa application cleared. Technically it hasn’t… but the paperwork has been sent over and given my lack of a criminal record I expect it to be all good.

Come May I will be packing my car & venturing north to spend the remainder of 2012 working on a biodynamic farm in Acton, Ontario (outside Toronto). I decided to temporarily put grad school on hold & put forth all my energy towards sustainable agriculture.

I am sure many of you are not familiar with biodynamic farming as it’s not common in most everyday conversation. The website for Biodynamics Farming & Gardening Association describes it as such: “Biodynamic farmers strive to create a diversified, balanced farm ecosystem that generates health and fertility as much as possible from within the farm itself. Homeopathic preparations made from manure, minerals and herbs are used to help restore and harmonize the vital life forces of the farm and to enhance the nutrition, quality and flavor of the food being raised. Biodynamic practitioners also recognize and strive to work in cooperation with the subtle influences of the wider cosmos on soil, plant and animal health.” So, those who know me well, can see how perfect of an opportunity this is. Combines just about everything I am passionate about.

So, what will I be doing? Everything a production farm entails. Majority of the season I will be working all day in the gardens producing for their CSA, farmers’ market and on-farm store. Closer to fall, after the height of produce season, I will be able to spend time gaining hands-on experience with the animals. I also hope to dabble in some beekeeping as well as taste some very local, fresh maple syrup straight from the farm.

While I will be sad to temporarily leave all my wonderful friends and the Burgh behind, I cannot wait to get back working the land all day, every day. My hopes are to return to PA in December a more confident farmer, one who better understands the connection between the cosmos and the soil, plant, and animal health

And I can’t mention Canada without sharing how excited I am to soon be in the same country as AIMEE!!! Yeay! Don’t mind the 30 hour plus car ride in between each other… at least we can call each other sans international phone charges! :)

Source: etsy.com via Ginna on Pinterest