Photo by Kaliflowa

Food For Thought

Photo by Kaliflowa

© Reba Fraher July, 2010





Nature Section

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An Unlimited Garden in a Limited Space

"Earth laughs in flower."-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders." -- Henry David Thoreau

We often find ourselves limited by less space than we would prefer. With infinite space I would love to have a thriving garden with fruits, flowers and vegetables. While living in a small space, I have had to make some concessions to this desire. Indoor gardens can be just as fun. They clean the air and graciously brighten up a room. Also, indoor growing enables us to garden all year long – no more long winters, waiting for the bulbs to thaw!

It is important to find out how to properly care for your plants you’ve selected. You must know what kind of soil they prefer, how much to water them, how much light they require, and what temperature is best in order to keep them alive and thriving.

Some great indoor varieties include cacti, bonsai plants, ivy, rubber plants, and spider plants. These look great, are easy to care for, and generally don’t demand any trimming or cleanup.


If you like medicinal plants, aloe vera is easy to grow and can be used formany treatments. Paper Whites are also very popular as they smell wonderful and look fresh.

Make sure to drill holes in the bottom of your pots. Then, add a couple inches of small rocks in the bottom for the pot for good drainage. When watering, it is best to drench the soil and allow the excess water to drain out. So it would be good to have a tray under each pot to collect drainage – no need to water the floor!

Growing plants indoors is easy and very rewarding. Since each plant home in its own pot, it is possible to care for each one individually in a way that cannot be done outdoors. For example, one contained might have radically different soil from another pot close by. So don’t get discouraged by limited space. In that space there are limitless possibilities to the joys of gardening.


Climate Change:
A Guide to the Great Debate

We hear a lot about global warming these days. Those poor polar bears struggling across melting icebergs grace the news every morning and create a thick layer of guilt that covers everyone. There are basic questions that we are not informed on, however, by the media. Such as, is the Earth really getting warmer? Are humans to blame for all this change? Is change a bad thing? What is going to happen in the future? These are all important questions that seem to never be addressed by the fear-mongers in the media. The main issue is that no one (not scientists, politicians or even you and me) can agree on what the cause of this climate change is or what will happen in the future.

First of all, yes the climate is changing. There is irrefutable evidence that some places are getting warmer, some colder, some drier, some wetter, etc. There are more hurricanes and earthquakes occurring and are leaving ever more devastating damage in their wake. We do know that much of this is due to human causes. According to Bjorn Lomborg, “That humanity has caused a substantial rise in atmospheric carbon-dioxide levels over the past centuries, thereby contributing to global warming, is beyond debate. What is debatable, however, is whether hysteria and headlong spending on extravagant CO2-cutting programs at an unprecedented price is the only possible response.” (Cool It).

So why are we so focused on regulation of CO2 levels and nothing else? It is because scientists have found link between the build up of greenhouse gases to Co2 emissions and thus to global climate change. This is what we know we can change and so we are holding onto that as the end-all be-all of the problem.

Also, are humans the sole cause of climate change? Some climate change is an inevitable part of living on an ancient planet. The earth goes through natural patterns of climate change.

Change is a constantly and a naturally occurring part of life. Everything changes and will always continue to change, even our own bodies and personalities. Temperatures have gone up and down from natural causes, such as little age ages and the severe winter in 1608, and will certainly continue to for the rest of time.

It is also fair to suggest that we are still warming up from the last ice age we encountered, one that occurred not too long ago, and the earth may continue to warm up until the climate is completely hot. The study of climates (an arguably science itself) is a new exploration for mankind and is only just beginning to be understood. No on really knows what the future has in store for us, we are simply along for the ride in many ways.

Back in the 1970’s it was predicted that the earth would get colder, not hotter, and lakes would freeze over and become glaciers. According to Eugene Linden, “It was the discovery that the warm periods between glacial eras tend to last 10,000 years that in part prompted fears of a new ice age in the mid-1970’s” (The Winds of Change pg 4). Then in 1988 it was a record-breaking year for warm temperatures. This is when public concern about “global warming” started to rise dramatically. Well we no longer hear about the theory of a new coming ice age, do we? Now we have new terms, such as “global climate change”. What does that term even mean? Our understanding of the entire issue is based on what the media and environmental pundits choose to tell us.

This issue is a very difficult discussion questions because many people feel so passionate about it. The climate is defiantly changing, science just seems uncertain as to how much, why it is happening and what the inevitable results may be. I am here suggesting that our time as a country would be better spent on much more pressing issues, such as poverty and lack of education worldwide. We should always be looking into new energy opportunities, but we have bigger fish to fry around the world as well as at home in the United States.

Photo by Pete

Yoga: Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar)

Practicing yoga is a solitary experience.  One can do it in a group, but in the end the will power required to hold the poses (asanas) is yours alone.  Yoga provides an opportunity to relive tension and also to simply listen to your body, as well as to the natural world around you. Being alone in nature is rejuvenating, and provides a good perspective on one’s ordinary daily experiences.  Honoring Grandfather sun by enjoying his warmth should be a daily activity, for without him our world could not exist.

There are many benefits to practicing yoga.  It’s great for energizing your physical body, communing with your emotions, relaxing your mental state, and connecting with your spiritual self.  Yoga creates a feeling of upliftment within you.  It is energizing and relaxing, and always makes one feel good inside. 

Every breath exhaled is creative energy, and every single breath influences life somehow.  Yoga is a practice that focuses deeply on the breath.  This awareness requires a certain amount of personal intuition, for it is up to you to know how far you can stretch and how hard you can push your body. 

To begin a yoga session, sit quietly in a comfortable position.  Close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing.  Keep your breaths slow, deep and even.  It is important to continue breathing this way throughout the movements.  Therefore, it is essential to take a moment to become centered and relaxed.  This is vital.  Deep relaxation (savasana) is an integral part of yoga practice. 

When you are ready, stand up with your feet shoulder-width apart to start the exercise.  Refer to the Eight Steps of Staning in Balance* for help with this. Enjoy the feeling of the stretch as you go. Try not to move too quickly.  Hold the stretches as long as you desire, then flow into the next movement.  Keep the flow and breathing even throughout the practice.  As you move notice how your organs will massage each other. They will love you for it!

*The Eight Steps in Assuming the Balanced Standing Position
by Bess M. Mesendiek M.D. 1954)

1. Place both feet parallel, a few inches apart, big toes pointing straight ahead.

2. Slowly draw the buttock and Adductor muscles (along inner thigh) tightly together.

3. Press the ball of each foot down and hold the body weight evenly distributed on both legs.

4. With the mucles in front of the thighs, pull up both kneecaps.

5. From the small of the back, with the long back muscles, slowly stretch the back stright upward. Draw yourself toward the top of the head.

6. Simultaneously, gently move the chin slightly forward until it is held at right angles to the front of the neck.

7. From the center of the upper back, with the shoulder blade muscles, slowly draw the should blades back and down until they are flat and held together.

8. Let the arms hang loosely at your sides.

"It is the most restful standing position for the body is not rigid, yet it is in perfect balance with all the muscles functioning properly." -Mesendiek

1. Mountain (Tadasana) Begin by standing with feet about hip width apart, hands either by your sides or in prayer position. Take several deep breaths. Make sure to feel balanced and relaxed before moving into the next pose.


2. Hands up (Urdha Hastasana) On your next inhale, raise your arms up overhead and gently arch back as far as feels comfortable. Turn your face towards the sky.


3. Head to knees (Uttasana) As you exhale, bend forward, bending the knees if necessary, and bring your hands to rest beside your feet.


4. Lunge Inhale and step the right leg back.


5. Plank (Chaturanga Dandasana) Exhale and step the left leg back into plank position (hands and feet on the floor, holding your body up off the floor). Hold the position and inhale.


6. Stick Exhale and lower yourself as if coming down from a pushup. Only your hands and feet should touch the floor. Hold and breathe.


7. Cobra (Bhujangasana) Inhale and stretch forward, bending at the waist. Use your arms to lift your torso, but only bend back as far as it feels comfortable. Keep your arms bent at the elbow. Turn your face towards the sky.


8. Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) Exhale, lift from the hips and push back and up. Try to keep your heels on the floor, but arching your foot slightly is ok. This is a great stretch for your body. Hold the pose and breathe. Enjoy it.


9. Lunge Inhale and step the right foot forward between your hands, followed by the left foot. Keep your feet hip width apart in order to move into the next pose.


10. Head to knees (Uttasana) Exhale, bend forward and rest your hands by your feet.


11. Hands up (Urdha Hastasana) Inhale and rise slowly while keeping arms extended. Turn your face towards the sky.


12. Mountain (Tadasana) Exhale, and slowly lower your arms to the sides. End by bringing your hands up into prayer position. Repeat the sequence as you wish.

*Photos by Pete

Enjoy! It is your life.

On Trees

Photo by Reba

The Gifts of Trees
Trees, awesome to both man and creatures are the evidence of reverent beauty, radiating the essence of wholeness.
-Twylah Hurd Nitsche, Seneca Elder

Trees are like people. There are an infinite number of differences among them; no two trees can ever be exactly the same. I'll give you a glimpse of some of the more interesting trees that live where I live.




My favorite mammoth graces the corner of a street in my town next to the post office.  It has several great growths covering its surface.  I think of it as the Elephant Man Tree.   


Trees whisper to one another like friends, yet compete for precious resources like sunlight and soil minerals.  Just like people, they can be very close to each other, yet in pursuit of their individual goals. 




  Some trees live in strictly controlled environments.  These I call “Institutional Trees”.  They are shaped conservatively and confined to a small space on the ground they inhabit.
Other trees grow wild and unkempt.  These look very exotic to me, reaching towards the sun with all of their many limbs eager to grasp the sky for nourishment. 


  Trees of the swamp have a majesty all their own.  Residing in quiet solitude, seemingly no longer living, they wait.  Their scarred wood curves to cradle seemingly prehistoric baskets that are the nests of winged creatures.


Look, there is even a ficus tree!  Technically named a Desert Rose, this particular specimen lives on my windowsill, greedily soaking in the sun.  According to the internet this tree requires desert-like conditions, but my Desert Rose thrives on water.  I consider her a monsoon plant –a teetotaler content with her lot.

*Photos by Reba

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