It’s been a while since we popped in here, huh?
I bet you’re wondering whatever happened to us.
It’s been…a lot.
PRODUCE + CANNING
Things have been crazy at the Mud + Breath homestead this past month or so.
Not only is August birthday season, but it’s also apple, pear, tomato, and cucumber season!
Over the past month, we have been frantically putting up pickles, ketchup, tomato sauce and juice, salsa, roasted tomato puree for bruschetta, apple sauce, apple butter, pear sauce, and pear honey.
Our tomatoes were sadly ravaged by hornworms, and I decided to pick them early to ripen inside. But the cucumbers and green beans continue to surprise us, albeit at a more manageable pace.
In the next few days, I’m going to be starting my very first batch of apple wine and apple mead as well as making some apple jam from scratch. Another pear tree in our yard—a late ripener—is quickly starting to turn as well.
And then, I’m setting out my late crop of butter lettuce, arugula, radishes, carrots, and beets. I’m not sure if we’ll get lucky to have a late crop of them, but it has held out to be a pretty warm summer thus far. I will cross my fingers.
That’s a mouthful.
NEW GARDEN PROJECT + CONSTRUCTION
To top it all off, the garden is getting a complete makeover after this growing season comes to a close.
The current garden is around 250 square feet (plus an extra section where we sow zinnias of about 20 square feet). It has one raised bed and a large open space where we sow the tomatoes.
We’re increasing the garden by 3-4x its size with around 10 raised beds, built-in root cellars, brick walkways, a picket fence, an additional add-on for our vine patch, around 250 square feet for flowers, a 20-foot arbor with dual swings and a plexiglass top to keep out the rain, a 150 square foot greenhouse, and drip lines.
There is also talk that somewhere in the garden will be a space for a sauna, corn and popcorn patches, and a new bramble and berry patch.
We are eagerly waiting for construction to start but are also looking at it in trepidation. There is going to be so much work is going to be needed once the landscaping aspect is complete!
200-HOUR YOGA TEACHER TRAINING
I’ve also been wrapping up the end of my 200-hour yoga teacher training.
Earlier this year, I set the intention to become a certified teacher and chose a digital approach due to COVID-19 affecting the way we engage with each other.
Thankfully the Yoga Alliance has stepped up to honor these teaching methods, and I’m quickly nearing the end of my journey to become an RYT-200 with the Yoga Alliance.
I am over the moon.
I have only a few more observations and, well, a mountain of Zoom calls to catch up on. But I can see the end is in sight!
PERSONAL RETREAT + HEALING
I also took the time to go on a personal retreat in the lovely home of a close friend. She was my very first friend from way back in preschool, and she has established this gorgeous healing space nearby.
Essentially, it was the most beautiful Airbnb a gal could enjoy (and I’ll be sharing a few photos of it on Instagram).
I woke in the morning to peace and quiet, rolled out of bed into my satin robe, turned on my morning playlist, made banana oatmeal, and did my early-morning yoga flow while looking out the 15-foot tall windows of her historic building.
The trip was a practice in following the flow, and I’ll mention a few brief gifts here:
I have been asking the universe for more lithops after losing mine to a cat-mate while on vacation. COVID-19 has mostly kept me on the homestead without needless trips to cities and stores around here. While I stayed at my friends, though, I took an afternoon to seek out a present for my sweetie.
(Did I mention that the universe brought me A SWEETIE THIS SUMMER??)
While finding them a new houseplant for their new place, I searched the store high and low for my lithops.
None to be found.
I went out on a limb and asked the sweet employee behind the counter if he had any.
“Noooo, I don’t really know what that…is?”
“Rock cacti?” I tried.
I was getting desperate… “…….butt plants??”
“BUTT PLANTS! I know exactly what that is! But I don’t think we carry them here. You could ask Meagan though.”
So I tracked down Meagan in the back room and danced the same question-tango until it clicked.
“You know what? We normally don’t carry those here,” she said. “Honestly, I don’t think we’ve ever had them the whole time I’ve worked here. But we just got a shipment of them in today. Crazy. I haven’t even priced them yet. Would you like me to grab the box for you?”
I was nearly in tears.
There in the box were not just single lithops plants but little communities of them bundled up into pots together. I left the store with nine lithops, three plants for my sweetie, some quartz crystals, and a piece of art for the M+B office.
The Right Place At The Right Time
Later in the trip, I followed the flow to a witch store. I had already grabbed the incense I wanted, but for some reason, I was compelled to linger.
And then I found it. Tucked into a hanging basket, high off the floor, was an old vintage harvesting apron with massive, deep pockets and a cute floral waistband.
Outside I ran into the owner of the building and got chatting about the flowers in her garden. Shortly thereafter, she decided to give me a tour of her historic home before digging up plants from her front yard and gifting them to me.
A Sea of Goldenrod
A visit to an old advisor resulted in the surprise of homemade key lime pie and their wonderful gift of three different species of goldenrod—dug up and put in buckets for me to transplant to the homestead!
I’ve been wanting to harvest goldenrod for herbalism reasons anyway, but to have a whole plant to transplant into our meadow was so lovely. We don’t have this growing in our yard, let alone the three species I went home with.
Late Night Treasures
A late-night exploring session brought me to a small vintage clothing pop-up next to a music venue.
A conversation with the wonderful owner revealed that they and their mother were an artistic duo.
While the mother is a specialist in holistic beauty and makeup, the daughter uses her large collection of curated vintage clothing to style photoshoots with purpose and then shoots on location in the city.
I didn’t have time on this trip, but she invited me to come by the studio and see the rest of the collection. And I left with a wonderful see-through bodysuit with floral applique riiiiiiight where it needs to be.
Magic Of Old Friends
An early morning farmer’s market visit with my friend resulted in us buying flowers from the most lovely little florist’s booth…
before I realized that the woman behind the counter was a dear friend from college, accompanied by her husband (another friend), and their darling little girl. I haven’t seen them since I graduated nearly five years ago.
Another old friend lent me an Illuminated Card Deck for doing tarot readings and an Arbor longboard with Moby Dick graphics on the bottom. (I am taking very good care of them and enjoying them a lot before I have to give them back!!)
It felt like the witchiest, most magical trip ever. Which brings me to my final point…
MUD + BREATH CREATION ENERGY
The break was definitely needed to focus on the important projects at hand, but I’m so excited to be back at Mud + Breath again as things start to quiet down!
Sure, there is still a lot of process in the garden, but I feel as though I’m finally to a point where the steps are becoming more familiar. (It also helps that my mom has been crafting apple sauce at a frenetic pace.)
This blog, this homestead, these projects, my herbalism and yoga studies, diving into astrology, and bringing you my insights and musings…
All of these things are new for me in 2020.
With the newness comes struggle, late nights, frustrating days, groggy mornings where I’m pulling hornworms off the tomato plants and deciding what the heck to do with them.
But life would be so boring if we weren’t learning new things and living with purpose, integrity, and magic.
There have been a lot of lessons learned over the past few weeks that translate directly into the writing and marketing aspects of M+B. I’ve learned a lot about automation and creating a buffer of content for next August, when the crazy apple/pear/tomato season kicks up again.
(Goodness, I can’t even IMAGINE how crazy it is going to be around here with the even larger garden.)
My soul feels very at peace knowing that I’ll be bringing you my magical musings on schedule next summer while canning and preserving, selling vegetables and flowers at the Farmer’s Market, and then finding a way to do mutual aid with the produce that wasn’t sold.
I get excited and tingly thinking about the magic that has been carried to me in the past few weeks just from following the flow.
I hope you have the opportunity to realize it in your own life. When you start following the soul-driven energy of your passions, musings, and joys, you will surely be carried on a path you need to heal, grow, and evolve.
I love you all.