Hygge Life, Dispatch 2

Aho, wild ones! We are now coursing through the full luna of August, and a few flowers have decided to bloom here at the nest. Our Hawaiin baby woodrose, a.k.a wooly morning glory (Argyreia nervosa) has unfurled its petals and climbed our trellises side by side with some native hops, the main ingredient in beer of course. Morning glory is a well known hallucinogen, but its simple beauty is also something to take awe in. The garden which I planted last week has shown a few sprouts of melons, kale and snow peas, the transplanted tobacco is staying strong, and the cactus is recovering from being smothered by thistles, grass and mugwort which now sits next to my coyote skull beside our living room window. I would love to have an entire patch of cactus but we only have one native species here which is the eastern prickly pear. The abundance of wild things and life is in full swell here in the Carolinian deciduous woods. We live in southern Ontario, near the Niagara region, and share a bio-system that is not unlike that found in  New England to the south of us. The pawpaw fruit is native here, and we have a few trees ourselves growing beside a spring fed pond, which I am Ohio Pawpaw Festival 2013 | The Whispering Crane Instituteanxiously awaiting harvest in a month or two. We live in one of the only parts on Ontario with opossums and flying squirrels and many hardwood species, like ash, oak, walnut, hickory, chestnut, and tulip trees. Acorn season will be in a couple months, so I am looking forward to scouring the ground for these protein rich dietary staples, which I can use as a coffee substitute, or a dark earthen color flour. The flora here does have a kind of tropical to sub tropical ecology, and so rich in therapeutic hues of green, sunflower yellows, fruit reds and sunset oranges.

During these hotter months, I am a strong advocate for barefoot living; in the garden, in the forest, on the trail. Having the freedom to step out of modern, uncomfortable shoes, and regain my primal posture and gait with feet firmly planted in their right anatomical position to the earth. Of course anyone who also treads the earth with skin rather than rubber or plastic knows the long term damage that shoes do to the feet, and how liberating it is to have them free of constraint to move in their natural way, to breathe, and have the level of articulation needed for locomotion and navigation. When the ground is too rough, or covered in nettles and thistles, I enjoy wearing my minimalist fivefinger shoes so I still get the connection to the ground I need, while still feeling free. These seasons are dominantly spent outdoors by my mate and I, and I feel it is important for us to engage our biology and tune in with out natural movements. I love free climbing rock faces, the way a mountain goat would, or brachiating through tree branches, the way lesser primates demonstrate in their natural habitat. I’ve rigged out our porch with hanging gymnastic rings for those times I would rather stay closer to our home and still have the ability to hang, lift, twist, swing and suspend myself in appropriate ways for my physique.

 

 

We have three cats that live ‘part time’ in our home, and what I have come to meditate on is how feral the so called domesticated feline still is when they are allowed to be outdoor ‘pets’. Sometimes I watch them stalking in the tall grasses, and imagine them twenty times heavier with a muscular frame in the savannah, or high in the himalayas in the snowdrifts and I think of tigers and amur leopards, their ancestors and cousins, and I see then the wildness in their cat-ness. They are hunters and predators in their own ecology that often gets overlooked and leads to people keeping them cooped up inside with no freedom to move beyond an apartment complex or a bedroom, and they never get to enjoy a free life. I watch them fight other cats to defend their territory. I see the importance of retaining this wildness in our pets, and nourishing their ability to co-exist with us while still being unkempt by our domestic training protocols. They return to our home and their fur smells like the forest, rich soil biome, fresh rains, and pollen. They are all the more hygge to lay down next to as they rub against your hands and skin after being outside in the forest or planter beds, rather than in the city dirt, and the litterbox.

We choose to live intentionally off the grid because to us it makes more sense to keep an open habitat for us to thrive in, and not be inundated with the trade offs most people make for a stable lifestyle that infringe on personal health, well being, and privacy. We do not own a tv, or heaps of electronic devices, our internet/screen time is minimal, and we believe in the ceremony of homemade nutritious food made with love over store bought meals. Our focuses are on our basic needs before anything superfluous; having clean air that smells of wild things, our water comes from untainted springs surrounding our home that has  p7310002.jpgtraces of beneficial sulfur, there is little to no light pollution at night, and there is never true silence, but the sounds that are heard are not cars, sirens, and construction, but birdsong, coyotes, and thunder. If the nights are cool, we love bathing in our cast iron bath which sits in one of the gardens, sown into the shape of the female yoni, and being surrounded by plants. The other night we gathered sulfur water from a local spring and took a healing mineral bath when the big light went out in the sky.

I have been introducing some new foods into my diet and have been enjoying having a local meat monger who sells wild organic game and grass fed beef and pork, so I have been sampling some exotic, and more localized meats into my paleo-influenced diet. Kangaroo burgers are becoming a favorite for its lean protein, and bison sausage cooked slowly in grass fed holstein butter or ghee is a treat lately. I am also enjoying some full fat, non-homogenized, water buffalo milk, and goat milk rather than cows milk. The reason I prefer non-homogenized is because it is the closest you can get to raw milk here in Canada, and is more readily metabolized by our bodies, when the cream is separate from the rest of the milk. In industrial milk procedures, the liquid is heated and brought over a suitable temperature suitable to kill any form of pathogens or disease and mixed together (thus homogenization), which then actually renders the milk almost impossible for our guts to process, and we end up with extremely high levels of lactic acid build up, and the fat which sticks to our arteries. I’ve also been making my own protein energy balls from organic ingredients like cacao, almonds, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, coconut oil, and carob powder. Instead of the packaged bars that line the shelves of nearly every health food store, I prefer to something that is fresh, and not coated in preservatives. Health has taken up a sovereign place in my life over the last four years but especially in this last year, as I moved from a nomadic existence to one of a more bioregional nature, and getting to know the individual species which thrive here and in this environment, and not having to rely on sharing other peoples food diets while traveling and living on farms. I have a lot more control over the food I am eating now, and have recently acquired a new fishing rod for fresh/salt water which I hope to test my luck with later this August while in the Maritimes for cod, haddock, and catfishing, and around here on the reserves for bass and trout. I am looking forward to testing out a new rod in the sea waters of New Brunswick, and hopefully bring a catch back with me in the cooler. The pond here on the land holds bass, so I have been able to catch and freeze a few for breaded fish, and fish tacos for the future, yum…

Hygge Life, dispatch 1

Aloha, wild people, feral travelers, and dreamers…

This is the first dispatch of the Hygge life set I am writing from the Nest, in the beautiful Carolinian forests of southern Ontario. It’s berry season, and my mate and I have been scavenging the woods and our garden patches for our seasonal harvests of blueberry, raspberry, blackberry, gooseberry, red and black currants, and strawberries. Most of these have built in thorns and spikes to prevent overgrazing mammals, birds, and other insectoid life from getting too close to these sweet sun ripened gifts, but with a little dexterity and the right tools, we can ambidextrously pluck, pinch and pull to our hearts content, and one thing with these berries, unlike many other wild foraging species there is no lethal harvest, so we have been preserving as well, making pure blackcurrant juice, which we are using as a concentrate, as well as jam, both have xylitol for sweetnees as currants are extremely sour when raw.

 

We also harvested several pounds of garlic, and have trays of mugwort drying in the solar dehydrator, which I am using the leaves of this medieval plant to make a dream pillow. It is well known for it’s use as an oneirogen, a naturally occurring dream enhancer, so there is a deep epigenetic value to using this plant for sleep practice. We have been catching and fermenting the wasps that have decided to swarm and build their nests around our home, as a biodynamic way to repel further hives being built, this is perhaps a lean to Rudolf Steiners teachings of fermenting and burning agricultural pests and then spreading the ashes on the fields to deter further invasions. Our bees are thriving, and have made a new queen after swarming a month ago. Half of the racks in the hives are being filled with sweet honey from the surrounding flora. I have been learning more about apiculture, and viticulture, that is beekeeping and grape growing. There is a hidden world of plants and fauna that always impresses me just when I think I understand them

On our forays out from the land, we have already found some favorite foraging spots for milkweed, hypericum, and queen annes lace (Daucus carota), also called wild carrot. This is a plant used traditionally used by women as a contraceptive. I have been using the milkweed flowers in some tasty kangaroo burgers which we tried for the first time a short while ago. I am going to be planting a new bed of seeds to overwinter, and for late harvest this year of some herbs like stevia and anise, and increasing my vegetative diversity with yellow pear tomatoes, red russian kale, melons, romano beans, and arctic kiwis.

I have been fishing off the local waters for bass, and have been able to bring in a fair catch each time of a few fish, which we have been trying as fillet, and breaded in spelt flour. I would like to build some snares for rabbit in the coming weeks. In the meantime I am getting a lot of naked sun time and soaking the photons deep into my body, setting my base tan before the autumn comes, using the energy from the sun to thrive in this beautiful setting. It is our natural form of photosynthesis after all.

The days are hot and tropical followed by torrential downpour every other day when we stay inside the nest, lay on sheep skins, watch the fireflies at night, drink hot cacao and dandelion root teas, and eat nutritious organic meals. The cats are out hunting at night, engaging their primal biology, and turkeys have been rummaging in the forest. I have bison sausage from a local meat monger, and plenty of wild rice. Sometimes we go to liberate the wasted food behind a local whole foods store. And in our downtime, we are planning new trips, exploring our love, dreaming, and laughing. Anything to make life more hygge.

 

‘Hygge’ Life

Aloha, those who loyally follow here or those who have stumbled upon this post through the tangle of the internet… I am going to be offering something different over the course of the next months while the solar seasons are nourishing ... of the little book of hygge the danish way to live well which explainsabundance and the sacred work is being done here at the nest. My partner and I try to live closely to an organic, traditional homesteading, wild foraging lifestyle as possible so that is what I shall be writing about here in the ‘Hygge’ posts. This is a word from the Scandinavian regions, primarily Denmark, Norway and Sweden which doesn’t have a direct meaning, but relates to a certain set of feelings the people have towards culture, social life, the comforts of home, and well being. It is a concept we live for, and about in most aspects of life, in the way we approach our work, our love, our shared space, and the pace we make through the day. I have found it describe in jest as

“Hygge (“heu-gah”). The art of building sanctuary and community, of inviting closeness and paying attention to what makes us feel open hearted and alive. To create well-being, connection and warmth. A feeling of belonging to the moment and to each other. Celebrating the everyday. Hygge happens when we commit to the pleasure of the present moment in its simplicity. Its there in the small rituals and gestures we undertake to give everyday life value and meaning, that comfort us, make us feel at home, rooted and generous. Hygge is a kind of enchantment – a way of stirring the senses, the heart and the imagination, of acknowledging the sacred in the secular – a way of giving something ordinary a special context, spirit and warmth, taking time to make it extraordinary. Hygge is about appreciation. It’s about how we give and receive. Hygge is about being not having.”

It’s a burning fire and woven wool sweaters on a cold wet day, it’s wild picked berries from a lush forest, or hot cacao in winter, it’s the closeness of your lover, or your cats, and sun bathing in the nude on a sandy ocean beach, it’s wooden cabins in the forest, music and dance in green grasses, it’s animal pelts adorning your furniture, and sleeping in on rainy mornings, and it’s something that moves you that leaves its imprint on your experience. I like this idea, and with a focus on country living, biodynamic farming, hunt/gather/forage lifeways, ancestral traditions, gaian ecology, rewilding, and many other branches of the feral path, I will regale some regular and seasonal posts about our life on the land, our continual acquirement of nutritious food, health information and forming an integral relationship with plants and animals, and more on rewilding lifestyle and biohacking our new paradigm with the world.