Tag Archives: gardening

A Drop in the Bucket, or Living off the Grid


Our friend, Arjuna da Silva, lives at Earthaven, an aspiring ecovillage in a mountain forest setting near Asheville, North Carolina. Everyone living there is dedicated to caring for people and the Earth by learning, living, and demonstrating a holistic, sustainable culture.  Arjuna helped start Earthaven in 1994, where she’s lived for the past twelve years.  She just moved into her earth & straw temple of a house there. Everyone who knows this beautiful woman over 50, celebrates her spirit.  Here is what she has to share…



Upper West Window

Originally, I wanted to write a piece about what a joke it is to work my way through a day of living on the land, off the grid, learning to grow food, and recycling my waste into valuable (fertilizer) resources.  But after several tries, I realized those choices deserve much more credit and that my inner voice is the one who’d rather let someone else do all the hard stuff.

So, yes, I do start my day by (sometimes anxiously) checking the meter to see how my batteries held up overnight storing solar-accessed electric power; and I do pay attention to the weather report regarding the day’s anticipated power access.  I even pay attention to the calendar that tells me if the stars would treat my tomato seedlings better today than if I waited to plant them on Friday.

When I first started to write this piece, I called my draft, A Drop in the Bucket, intending to convey the double meaning of the “sustainable” life I choose to live.

  • Meaning 1: peeing and pooping in containers so those resources can be utilized as soil amendments (instead of depending on fertilizers that have to be bought and shipped, possibly scraped off another part of the earth).
  • Meaning 2: then there’s the more cynical reference being the effort us folk (who live in this valley) put into recycling, preserving, using renewables, etc., which is just a drop in the regional (let alone global) bucket.

But, today I’d rather tell you I’ve found ways to minimize the things I don’t like (carrying what’s too heavy, smelling what’s too foul, etc.), and feel pretty happy refining my rugged life into something that even fussy people might be able to handle.  In fact, I’m thinking others might choose this path if they could feel the inner rewards that come from paying attention to what we do and what we use to do it.

The  choice to take risks (as if anyone lives without them) and move in what looks like “the right direction” for oneself, one’s neighborhood or the planet, is such an uplifting choice!  The experience of following through on the nitty-gritty details of trial and error with new systems and organic self-reliance is exhilarating at times and is mostly just deeply satisfying.  Maybe you’d like to try it?

Please post your questions and comments here so we can have an open discussion.  Arjuna’s workshop, “Your Enneagram and Your Sub-Personalities” airs August 10-21 at Earthaven.  For more information, please email: arjuna@earthaven.org.  All power to the people!  Make your own, grow your own, and use your own!





Don’t Hate Me Because I Don’t Garden


There it is – I said it: I don’t garden.  Never did.  Don’t want to, don’t have time to, don’t want to make the time – until l I retire – maybe.  I know gardening is the favorite past-time of baby boomers, but I’m just not that into it.   I dreamed my house was surrounded by beautiful plants and flowers blooming all about, bordered by superbly arranged hedges brilliantly designed by a landscape architect (green, of course).

My Dream

But the truth is, I’d rather do yoga, read a book, walk my dog, work on my novel, or plan a dinner party.

I wish my house had a vegetable garden with a variety of edible plants right outside my door.  And I would love to walk outside swinging a basket in my arms to gather strawberries, blueberries, tomatoes, and watercress, but then again, I’d have to sow in order to reap.  Last year, my dear friend and expert gardener Sadhvi, helped me grow various lettuces and herbs in potted plants for my deck.  She educated me and set me up, and I’ll be darned if I didn’t have lettuce and herbs all summer long.  But now, I can’t even get it together to do that.  So, I went to the garden shop and bought colorful plants (don’t ask me what they are) and I will re-pot them and display them on my deck so I can sit and relax in the privacy of my home.

Front yard

By the way, I must also confess that my yard needs a ton of work.  I looked on the HGTV site to see if by chance I could nominate myself for an extreme outdoor makeover but couldn’t find that option on the website.  I’m so desperate.  If you know of a contest for outdoor landscaping, please let me know.  You see, I live on a mountain, so I’ve convinced myself and everyone else that I don’t need any landscaping because I’m a firm believer in the school of “natural habitat.” In case you’re thinking, OMG, I’m so glad I don’t live next to her, you can’t see my house from the road.  It’s down a big hill (the one my husband slipped on during the snow storm in January and broke his hip), and no one can see it.



Back yard
Last year's deck - will try again

Sending a Shout-Out to Beautiful Women over 50


Sending a Shout-Out to our beautiful women over 50 who’ve been asking about writing a post on the oops50.com blog.

We invite you (all women over 50) to share your stories and experiences with our readers.  We know there are tons of subjects you care about because we know, like us, you never tire of speaking your mind!  And, don’t forget to ask your mothers, sisters, cousins, friends, colleagues, etc.  We all have intriguing and important stories to tell.   We’ll take your article (not more than 250 words) and we’ll edit it, post it, and promote it.

Some of favorite categories are: Friendship,  Aging parents, Children/Grandchildren; Cooking; Gardening; Pets;  Relationships; Health and Wellness; Spirituality; Menopause; Sleep (or the lack of); Work; Retirement (I wish); Starting Over; Books; Films; and of course, if you are inspired, you can always write about Death and Taxes.

If you’re interested, please contact me at: Annice@oops50.com and I’ll send you our guidelines.

I’m all Ears

Women over 50: The Easy Fall Garden!


I didn’t think I could fit in any fall planting this year in my garden.  I went back and forth quite a bit in my head until a couple of weeks ago, there was a moment out of time where I found myself cleaning up a few beds and amending the soil with some composted manure without much effort. 

Sadhvi's October White Zinnia
Sadhvi's Favorite Salads for Fall

Often, I will make a big thing out of something that really does not take much time…it just has to BE the right time, the right moment!  I watered the beds well, and waited a few days until I sprinkled a mixture of leftover lettuce seed packets over them.  I did want some collards and didn’t have any seed, so I bought a 6 pack of starts for $2.39, planted them, and well, that was easy!   

"Firecracker vine"
There is Swiss chard from the spring that is still going strong too, which is why I always will have that wonderful vegetable in my garden.  So after a few weeks of doing nothing, there is so much salad that I am glad that I didn’t listen to my mind because I hate store bought lettuce; it’s expensive and it’s not fresh.  Just in case you  have the weather for fall planting where you live, you might want to plant something that you like to eat, because it is so worth it with little actual effort!
Sadhvi's Fall Garden 2
Sadhvi's Pink Zinnia in October

Women over 50: Summer is Over!


 As a woman over 50, I do notice myself becoming lazier as a gardener.  It’s as if I conserve my movements and tasks to adjust to where my body is now.  I still shift into automatic, where time just is, and my body is in motion with no sense of hurt or pain or overexertion.  I am just more like a slow-moving dancer, instead of a fast-moving one!  If I am sore the next day, that’s Ok, since my love of gardening will never fade; and I figure that’s what Epsom salt foot baths are for!  

Where I live, summer is officially over.  The leaves are falling, and the color of the sun feels more golden, like honey.  But the temperatures are still hitting the upper 80’s, and I still have the fans running.

Sadhvi's Quan Yin & Cosmos

It’s been such a hot summer with temperatures above normal that I am not feeling too melancholic about it slipping away this year.  Twice I had friends knock on our front door to escape the heat from where they live an hour south.  The night temperatures did not change much here, but where they came from, they didn’t change at all, they said!    

Sadhvi's Sally Chicken
I did have a bumper crop of basil and tomatoes, and they are still producing – incredible!  And now after living here for 8 years, I have one or more of my favorite  flowers blooming all the time; my goal when I first moved here when there was nothing but hard dirt!

With summer fading, I went out to take some pictures of what is still flowering.  And to show you a picture of one of our 11 hens, all named “Sally”, after my Mom.  It’s so funny to yell, “Sally” and see the whole bunch running fast towards me…it makes me laugh every time.  Well, I hope you are enjoying the shifting of the seasons, wherever you are.  Oh, and Happy Fall!    

Sadhvi's Everbearing Raspberries!
Sadhvi’s Sunset Torchflower