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Yesterday, Sunday, we found our horse, Satin, lying flat in her field. After trying to roll her so she could get up, she was on a hill, head down. I realized she had broken her hip. Diana and I stayed with her until the vet arrived to euthanize her. We held her head and whispered to her as we could see how much pain she was enduring.

Satin was in her late thirties, which is very old for a horse. I knew this time would come, but I still feel the crystalized grief embedded in my heart. Satin was a sweet horse and enjoyed the attention of my grandchildren and everyone who came up to the gate to pet her. She would gingerly trot down to the barn to get her grain, and I would stand and listen to her quietly chewing and thoroughly enjoying each bite.

We have had several horses, as my children did 4H for many years. I have had to go through this process several times as taking on the role of caring for a horse involves making the hard decisions when they reach the point they cannot walk or are suffering. It never gets easier to make the hard decision to euthanize an animal, and as much as I am grieving, I am grateful for the relationship I had with each of them.

Satin will be my last horse as I cannot ride anymore and need to manage my physical output due to my skeletal problems, so this time, I feel sad and final.

I will miss watching her in the field as I tend our gardens. I have beautiful memories of her and our horses at this farm. As I feel the grief today, I celebrate life's moments, both happy and sad.

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Over the last ten thousand years of agriculture, farming has removed the bitterness from most of our greens. While reading the book," Eating on the Wild Side" by Jo Robinson, I discovered several different reasons and facts.

In stripping away the bitterness, we stripped away most of the highly beneficial phytonutrients. If you taste dandelion greens, you will experience a high degree of bitterness. But these greens have eight times more antioxidants, two times more calcium, and three times more vitamin K and E than spinach. Calcium has a bitter taste, so the calcium content of the greens we eat today could be a factor in the rise of osteoporosis in older Americans. We may prefer milder vegetables, but we miss important nutrients.

People have a dislike for bitter-tasting food. Some more than others, depending on our genes and culture. This built-in repulsion protects us from eating poisonous plants. So be careful eating plants you do not recognize. Years ago, I knew a dairy farmer who trimmed the hedge by his house and threw the trimmings over the fence for his cows to enjoy. He lost 25% of his herd that day as the hedge was hemlock, a deadly plant he was unaware was growing as a decorative hedge. Plants can be deadly.

How can you increase the nutrients of the plants you enjoy? Eat more dark green, red, or redish-brown greens. Americans consume more servings of iceberg lettuce per week than all other fresh vegetables combined. When you purchase leaf lettuce, be sure to eat the outer leaves. The outer leaves have more nutrients than the inside due to their relationship to the sun's UV rays. Buy lettuce that has loose leaves rather than tight heads. Eat a mixture of different salad mixes. Not just plain lettuce.

Most important, eat a variety of vegetables. If you don't eat vegetables, think hard about what Mother Nature offers. Come and visit Farmer's Markets and explore the wonderful fresh vegetables offered. Start a vegetable garden and connect with nature while growing tasty, nutritious vegetables. Join a local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and enjoy a selection of fresh, tasty seasonal vegetables.

Your body, soul, and the earth will thank you.

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            Being Mindful or Mindfulness has become a common word these days. But do we understand what it means? As a retired mental health therapist, I used the Dialectical Behavioral Therapy model, where the concept of Mindfulness comes from with many of my clients.

            Being mindful is a mental state of slowing down our world, focusing on ourselves and the Earth, and sitting and listening to the world around us. Mindfulness is observing our environment without judgment of ourselves or others. I enjoy sitting outside at my farm, listening, and watching the birds flock up for their long journeys. Being Mindful is experiencing the wind in my hair and on my face and watching the trees move in the wind. It is breathing deeply and feeling the oxygen fill my lungs and then breathing out the inner stress that resides.

            Establishing an inner balance takes work and practice but is worth the time. Over time, it becomes a normal state of mind.

            Trying to keep up with this fast-paced world can be exhausting. Practicing Mindfulness can slow things down and help us live in the moments that bring us joy. Try to sit for a few minutes and connect.

            In my book "The Harold Project," connection to life energy is the key to healing our planet. Saving the Earth takes everyone working together to implement small changes together.

            The first step is connecting to our Earth, ourselves, and each other. Then, the steps become easy when we decide to make better choices around using the resources our Earth provides and honoring life.

            So, try to practice Mindfulness daily. See, feel, and listen without judgment and find joy in this beautiful season.


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From Our Garden,

to Your Table...

Read about what we've been up to.

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