yoga, a photographic demonstration

Here we are, before we begin practicing yoga.  There’s a lot of life here.  Lots of good stuff.  Plenty to learn, and room to grow.  But it’s kind of chaotic.  Unorganized.  Wild.beginning

So, we start doing some asana.  By “asana” I mean a series of physical exercises designed to stabilize and strengthen our bodies so that we can function on a higher level and fulfill our obligations without undue stress or pain.  We stabilize what is wobbly, strengthen what is weak, and stretch what is stiff.playing mule

Those exercises can by nature be a bit strenuous.

scything oatsscything oats 3

asanaBut in the end, we have this.  We are clean.  The question is – what now?clean and green

Something is bound to happen.  Will we return to chaos?  That would be easy.weeds long

Having lived long enough to know that we do not have control over everything that happens in life, we can now consider how to most effectively participate in the co-creation of our world.  If we cannot MAKE something happen, we can at least shape our response to life’s flow.  A good way to engage in this process is through pranayama (breathing exercises).  This work incorporates the bodily strength and flexibility gained in asana (physical exercises) and applies the power of the breath to our internal energetic system.  Breath is powerful stuff.  How we breathe can change how we sleep, how we wake, how we think, and how we feel, to name just a few.  It’s a long term project.  We might feel different after a singular practice, but we will feel VERY different after months, or years, of practice.

garlic planted


Pranayama leads naturally toward meditation and prayer.  It’s like a yellow brick road, or Hansel’s stones glittering in the moonlight.  The beautiful silent work of meditation, the powerful connectivity of prayer, are amplified by the practice of asana (to make our bodies comfortable) and pranayama (to turn down the static of our mental/emotional states).  Whatever our faith, our path to connect with that which cannot be seen, the deep attentive self-control and focus gained through this integrated yoga practice takes us deeper along the way.strawberry flower

monarch 1susanas9three peeksIt’s a work with no end in sight.  No kidding.  But it’s a good work, and the rewards are abundant beyond measure.robesoncukes and tomatoesglass gem grouptime 5

in it

we have been through quite a few springs together in this space.  for those of you new to this blog, you can read my annual spring musings  here and there . be warned,  they’re kind of a bummer. spring is a transitional time and as with all change, it can be messy.



these spring days are so full: our farm team is assembling, the greenhouse is jammed with plants, the high tunnels are busting out spring’s first wave of food, farmers markets are starting up, heck, the milk cow grazing on the green pastures again is giving so much milk, even my simple daily chores take longer.

it’s been three weeks since we have had a day to ourselves, a day off if you will. with guests and apprentices migrating to the farm with all of that seasonal excitement,  we have found ourselves with out a free moment. until today.

this past week we accomplished so much: new fence lines erected thousands of seeds started, maturing plants potted up, summer kitchen opened for the season, pigs sold, chickens given away (sorry cher, our loss is your gain, chuckle, chuckle). the list goes on. last night, as we all anticipated our first true sunday, the kind well earned from a week of hard work, we shared a great meal and smiled at the unfolding of the season before us.



today, the sun shines, the frost of last night is but a distant memory and spring doesn’t seem half bad. through sun and rain, warmth and frost, may this spring unfold flawlessly for us all!


photo credit mrb

i’m playing a bit more on instagram lately @hillandhollowfamily sometimes, when the days get long and my muscles ache,  a picture and a hash tag is all i can muster.



what the seeds told me this week

seeds 1Each and every seed carries within it the code for its own doom, as well as for the perpetuation of it’s own kind.

Upon making the effort the germinate, the individual seed itself is destroyed. It’s a beautiful destruction, as it may lead to another green plant, but be it a flower, a weed, or a tree, there is a destruction involved none the less.

The beans have a particularly creative style of accomplishing their transformation, as they use the meaty part of their seeds as the cotyledons, which wilt back as the true leaves mature. Other plants leave just a little husk behind as whatever is left of the seed is absorbed into stem or root, or sloughed off.seeds 4

Seeds have no choice. Given the right circumstances – temperature, moisture, light – a seed uses its inborn vitality and makes an attempt to germinate. If it has been made to wait too long in adverse conditions, that vitality may diminish, and if the moment to sprout never comes, the seed will eventually decompose. Again, the seed’s destruction feeds the living soil.  Whenever a seed gets an opportunity, it plays its part. Even at its own expense, the seed does what it can to bring about more life in abundance.seeds 5

The seed has no housework. The seed doesn’t make apologies. The seed doesn’t juggle a busy schedule. The seed doesn’t linger with good-byes.  The seed has no choice. We do.

Change challenges us. And change is completely unavoidable. There’s something about our capacity for freedom that breeds a spirit of resistance, and attachment. But if we resist the change coming our way, we will still be changed by the very fact of our resistance. If we cling to our beautiful moments, they will never mature into the sacred mundane. If we cling to our pain, we might not find out what it was for.

Some changes are more difficult than others. We are not seeds. We choose. Every moment, we choose, to be awake to life and its changes, or sleep through it and deal with change re-actively, and in the retrospect. To take the bull by the horns, or be thrown. But we can take a lesson from the seeds. They are sprouting up all over the place right now.

The lesson is clear…

Sprout. Grow. Bloom. Set free some more seeds.  Carry on.seeds 2seeds 3

Set aside fear, and vanity.  You will never be the same.  You never were.  Don’t let your unfulfilled potential rot like a seed that never got a chance. When it’s time to grow – let grow.

It’s Life itself that is really so beautiful.seeds 6