Cultivating Gratitude In The Garden

This is the season of thanksgiving, and we have everything we need to cultivate gratitude and share it with those we love right where we are. The garden is a place where our senses are awakened, our minds are freed, and our stress is relieved. It is a place where we can meditate, dream, and worship. It is where are hands are dirty and our soul is full. I want you to know this!!

The word cultivate means to “prepare and make ready to use.” In the garden, we cultivate your vegetables. We cultivate our soil. But we also use those things to cultivate gratitude in this season of Thanksgiving. Sound a little crazy? Stick with me! I have said for years that garden people are the best people. Now, let me tell you why. It is because we have this very unique opportunity to bring a smile to someone’s face, to help someone feel loved, to share what we have harvested, and to welcome others into this amazing miracle with us. And as we do this our world changes. Our world literally changes, and it changes right before our eyes.

3 Ways To Cultivate Gratitude In Your Garden This Season

herb bundles

One of the easiest things to share from the garden is herbs, and you can plant them right now!! Herbs need to be harvested, and the more you pick the more they grow. Cutting herbs daily is good for the herbs and it is good for YOU!! Herbs awaken our senses. They release phytoncides that are antibacterial, anti-fungal, they smell amazing, and as we breathe them in they tell our bodies to do amazing things. When we touch them, their essential oils enter our body’s greatest organ, the skin, and go directly to our blood stream for an almost instant boost of goodness. And, they relax our mind with their beauty. It is magic. And we have access to them any time we want. I love to share these little leaves of loveliness with people I visit, and have them on hand for visitors who come to me. I put them all over the house in vases to create my own diffuser, right from the yard, and have been been known to add them to my bath water. It is so simple to enjoy herbs, and yet it is so powerful.

My Favorite Herbs To Grow In The Cool Season:
  • PARSLEY
  • CILANTRO
  • ROSEMARY
  • OREGANO
  • THYME

sharing the fruits of your labor

This goes without saying to most gardeners, but sharing the fruits of my labor is my favorite part of gardening. I think most gardeners would agree that giving away veggies is the most rewarding part of the growing season. To be able to make someone’s day with a bag of produce that you grew is hard to beat. And it brings a smile to a person’s face like magic. The gratitude that comes from receiving someone’s hard earned harvest is about as pure as it gets.

My favorite cool season vegetable to share is LETTUCE!! Lettuce is so easy to grow, and having a salad buffet right outside your door is one of the most rewarding parts of the winter garden.

Here are some of my favorite cool season fruit and veggies to share:
  • lettuce
  • mustard greens
  • green onions
  • chard
  • carrots (tops and all…so beautiful)
  • beets
  • citrus

Sharing a Meal In The Garden

One of my favorite cool season activities is supper in the garden. Whether it is on a picnic blanket or a fully set table, eating outside is a special treat all in itself. Cultivate gratitude in your family and friends by enjoying supper outdoors. When the harvest is plenty, the garden repays us for our hard work by giving right back to us with a menu fit for a king. Invite some friends over for a special evening, or just serve your family in the garden. You won’t regret the effort, I promise!

This season is the perfect season to host a time of togetherness in the garden. Thanksgiving in the garden is a memory for a lifetime! Even if you aren’t hosting the holiday feast at your own house, you can still enjoy the privilege of welcoming others into our happy place and offering them some of our pickings. A large salad, fresh from the garden with all types of topping options will make those seated at your table feel like the are enjoying a vacation experience. The garden has a way of taking your mind to a place of peace and rest….you know that.

Even if you aren’t hosting the holiday feast at your own house, it is a privilege to welcome others into your happy place and offer them some of your pickings.

I had the honor of being featured in inRegister magazine’s November issue last year, which you can read here. And then, I had such fun talking about table setting rom the garden, which was a real treat for me. You can read the full article here. But here are the highlights for you.

1. Start with the green.

Evergreen branches from shrubs–not from trees–are best. Things like ligustrum, any kind of citrus plant and boxwood branches are a great place to start. And for the grand finale, cut magnolia leaves. I like the ones that are several leaves together with the pod in the middle. So beautiful!

2. Don’t overlook weeds.

Weeds are perfect for this kind of thing. Look around and find what speaks to you. Who cares what it’s called! There’s this tall grass that grows in many yards right now and it’s great for a Thanksgiving table. It looks right out of Little House on the Prairie.

3. Quarantine your plants.

After you cut everything, let it sit for a few hours. Trust me, do this step. It helps get all the bugs out. You don’t want spiders running across anyone’s dinner.

4. Lay it flat.

Tall vases overcomplicate things. They’re harder to arrange and then it’s hard for people to see through them when they’re trying to have a conversation at the table. Instead, layer the different greenery on the table to create dimension that isn’t overwhelming.

5. Spice it up.

Fruits like satsumas and lemons look great. Pumpkins are amazing! I also like to walk around the yard and pick up things like big acorns, pecans, walnuts, and pine cones. Then I go around the house and round up other things like lanterns or deer antlers. It’s south Louisiana–our husbands have things we can borrow. Just use your imagination. Finally, I see if there’s anything else I want to add, like fake birds or pumpkins that I can get from a store.

You don’t have to be hosting the meal at your house to decorate your table and enjoy it. It takes only about 30 minutes to collect all of this stuff, and it’s therapeutic. This process will cultivate gratitude in you as well as those seated amongst the beauty. This is your reward too. Just this 30 minute nature walk around your yard collecting things to go on the table can dramatically change your day. Try it!! Then share with someone else! You are changing the world! Believe me!!

Today I will be live at noon on the Wild Child Farms Facebook page decorating my Thanksgiving table. I have foraged my yard for all the good stuff, and I am going to show you how to use what you have to create a gorgeous table to share with those you love. Join me and get all the tips!!

What Is Kombucha? And Why Should I Drink It?

Kombucha originated in the Far East around 2,000 years ago, and this beverage is a super food with tremendous health benefits extending to your heart, your brain and (especially) your gut.

Because it is fermented, it contains a large number of living healthy bacteria known as probiotics. These bacteria line your digestive tract and support your immune system, as they absorb nutrients and fight infection and illness. Since 80 percent of your immune system is located in your gut, and the digestive system is the second largest part of your neurological system, it’s no surprise that the gut is considered the “second brain.”

I still have a lot to learn about kombucha, and making it at home, but I want to share what I do know. I hope to inspire you to just start where you are and release your inner wild child to make your own batch of kombucha.

The Quick Story of Kombucha

Kombucha is a fermented beverage consisting of black tea and sugar that’s used as a functional, probiotic food. It contains a colony of bacteria and yeast that is responsible for initiating the fermentation process, once combined with sugar.

Following fermentation kombucha becomes carbonated and contains vinegar, B vitamins, enzymes, probiotics and a high concentration of acid. The sugar-tea solution is fermented by bacteria and yeast commonly known as a SCOBY, which stands for “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast.”

So what does kombucha taste like? There are a number of different flavors available, but it’s generally fizzy, tart and slightly sweet. Some people find it a healthier substitute for sodas, which can help satisfy that craving for a fizzy drink.

Kombucha is great way to get the benefits of fermentation, and it is delicious. If you enjoy carbonated drinks such as Lacroix or Waterloo, or if you have a coke habit you would like to kick, kombucha might be something to try. While you can buy it in most stores, it is something really fun to brew at home. And, you can make sure only the purest ingredients are included. I love to brew kombucha in the summer when I can use the fruits and veggies from my garden for flavor. It doesn’t get any more organic than that.

Why Should You Should Drink It

Kombucha is Full Of Antioxidants

Kombucha contains a ton of antioxidants that will help to detoxify the body and can help protect your body against disease. Those anti-oxidants can help reduce inflammation, and inflammation is a big precursor for many chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease and even cancer. While normal black tea does contain antioxidants, research shows that the fermentation process of kombucha creates antioxidants that are not naturally found in black tea.

Your Gut Needs It

Kombucha supports digestion is because of its high levels of beneficial acid, probiotics, amino acids, and enzymes, which are so important to the health of your gut. And it contains good bacteria, known as probiotics, which are critical to everything from immune function to mental health and nutrient absorption. By balancing out the digestive system, kombucha is aiding so many other systems in your body as well.

It Is Anti-Bacterial

In our guts we have both good and bad bacteria. We see bad things happen when the bad bacteria overpowers and outnumbers the good bacteria. While it may seem weird to drink bacteria to get rid of bacteria, that is exactly what happens. The bacteria in our digestive systems are like an army, working around the clock to defeat the bad bacteria. The more good bacteria you have, the easier it is to eliminate the bad like staph, E. coli, and salmonella.

Every Wednesday in June, I will post a video to the Wild Child Farms Facebook page, sharing the process of making my own kombucha. I will be sharing a step each week, and by the end of June we will have our own home brewed kombucha to enjoy. I hope to inspire you to make your own as well. It is so good and so good for you, and it is fun to make. Join me on Wednesdays and get to brewing your own. This is one way to release your inner wild child right where you are. Using fruits, veggies, and herbs from the garden in your home brewed kombucha is as organic as it gets. I hope you are inspired to stay well by being wild.