I am debating what kind of compost pile I want to build. Cold compost is chill (and can be wormy.) But I think hot compost offers more of a thrill. Let me break it down for you. Add browns (paper stuff) and greens (plant stuff) like any pile. If the ratio is just right and holds moisture, the compost will cook itself! How delectable. So I plant and water a fresh pile of browns and greens. I tuck it in under a couple pieces of cardboard. When I have scraps, I dig a hole and bury them. And my fingers are crossed..

Who knew it was such a science to brew fresh dirt! Maybe I’ll take it’s temperature later… For now I’m letting it break itself down for me!

Death and decay fuel new life, whether it’s from your fresh compost, a mushroom or what’s for dinner. Life and death compete and cooperate. Life and death breed both chaos and order across the food web. Life and death build upon each other. Life and death create growth that spurs us onward, naturally.

Years ago our cat preyed upon a bunny that I tried unsuccessfully to save. It’s one of those uncomfortable things that happen. I buried it in a tin with a big golden beet. My fascination with death has led to creating images. I captured this moment of the end. It’s confronting yet peaceful. We can no longer avoid the conversation. Death needs to be embraced so that it can be understood with reverence. Look at it. Be curious about it. Toss the taboo. Get familiar with this natural process. I call it Bunnykins.

My grandmother always recited the poem, The Spider and the Fly. The opening lines are, “come into my parler, said the spider to the fly.” In a flower garden there are many spiders and many more flies.

My preying mantis friend got eaten. I wonder how many flies the little guy caught while it stood still on it’s leaf all week. I visited every day, tried to be quiet and made an image of it. I know it’s natural, but I was still sad when it got consumed. The preying mantis got preyed upon itself. On and on up the web it goes.

The predator kills it’s prey. We eat; we process the meat. I take a photo. I honor the animal. I appreciate the beauty of it’s sacrifice as it is transmuted into new life. This is the first animal I helped butcher. The photo shows reverence as we kneel to skin the deer.

Finding strength and inspiration in the natural cycles of death and decay is the reason regenerative agriculture appeals to me. It can save our planet, which is dying from the way we abuse our natural resources and wild lands. Our plants and animals and soil suffers from the way we practice industrial agriculture. Regenerative farming can literally bring back life and carbon and water to the soil and in turn the animals, plants and us who all depend upon it. It can resuscitate our ailing earth!

And so we make compost.

We also grew a cover crop (aka lawn) this year here in Phoenix, Arizona. Yes, we do irrigate, but as the root system grows deeper and deeper with the help of beneficial bacteria and mycorrhizal fungi and microorganisms, it also holds more water and let me tell you, we need to sequester as much water as possible! We can also sequester carbon. This can positively affect climate change and our regional water cycle. We over-seed with clover and let the dandelions and purslane live to encourage biodiversity. Pollinators appreciate the variety. So does my cat.

Animal Kin

“Known by the earth, you are. Loved by the earth, you are… There is a confluence of energy that wraps around you that says, ‘I know you. You belong here. It is appropriate that you step upon the planet.'” -Lee Carroll and Kryon Magnetic Service

I have a friend who is both hunter and vegetarian. In the woods, she can kill a deer and eat it; in society, she carefully avoids meat. I crossed the country from a Maryland metropolis to California coast before I experienced the real difference fresh, local, loved food makes- and how great it tastes! I had to dig in the dirt myself to feel what it was. In today’s world we can hardly find restaurants, markets or grocers with ripe, organic, wholesome fruits & vegetables or pastured chicken eggs, grass-fed and finished meats or dairy. It’s important to note that the things we eat, whether plant or animal, deserve basic love and respect in their short life because they have sacrificed for our own greater purpose.

In my homesteading adventures, I have now met chickens, goats, turkey, pig, cow and sheep. I can’t say I sought them out, but once a person starts gardening, sooner or later the farm is going to get your goat! As a meat eater, I have a natural curiosity about my carnivorous ways. So I find myself on the land, prepared to understand the process by hand.

I helped to butcher and process two wild whitetail deer. Respect and honor was given for their sacrifice and we were gracious as we shared deer burgers for lunch in the midst of carving.

I watched a wild boar shot, bled out and butchered by a young man with natural skill. He had acquired and honed these abilities all his life: in the woods with his father. I could see that experience as he swiftly skinned and decapitated the boar. I could feel it as he cut out the animal’s heart, inspected the health of the liver and claimed the animals back straps.

I collected snails while weeding in the garden. Then I used them to bait my hook and caught catfish out of the pond. We filleted three huge fish and put them in the freezer for winter.

For a month, I fed two mother goats and their three kids. We drank the milk they gave, made farmer’s cheese from it and when it was time transported the boy kid to slaughter.

I shepherded sheep to the shearer, skirted their fleeces and sent each ewe packing back to pasture. Two years later, I have learned to wash, spin and crochet this rough material into warm hats and scarves (thank you spinners at Arcata Farmer’s Market).

I harvested chicken and duck eggs and cared for a couple turkeys, but never have I twisted the neck of a foul. Some of these things sound brutal, but the message that I am trying to convey is that death is a necessary and very important part of the cycle. The process of taking a life demands care and respect. Through that action, honor is given and we are sustained. I am proud to know, especially firsthand, the experience and sacrifice of my feast …for us all to come full circle together.

As I seek, so I have found greener pastures, and in them Daisy Mae, a milk cow who lives in Bayside. I mean milk in the most real sense of the word – none of this almond, hemp, coconut, soy, rice …water. I admit that squeezing her juice right from the teat into my jar was …jarring. However, with experience and education, I am learning the beauty and honesty of her raw milk. I am making yogurt, and, you might say: I have found the WHEY.

There is a wordless grace to our relationship with domesticated animals; every time the cow nudges you it’s a reminder that this is a cooperative experience of connecting to source and together gathering sustenance. The practice of milking is very palpable; be careful not to get shit in the bucket. There is a necessary dedication to technique but also care- a syphoning meditation. After three days, we were starting to get along. Daisy Mae’s natural gift is nestled right there: in this stunning relationship that has existed and evolved over too many, many years to count. From it we can place cream, butter and cheese on our table. Thank you, dear.

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And now, here- in Kryon’s words, through Lee Carroll:

“I speak of the precious animals all the time and how they’re here to service humanity and how they do it so completely. I’ve spoken about how some of them are here to be eaten. Many don’t like to hear this, but understand that collectively the animals understand this. They have to be part of the Human food chain, since humanity doesn’t have the ability to grow things fast enough and distribute that food. So that’s a service, you see? For those of you who are vegan, you might say, “I never eat them!” That is a choice for your health. It’s appropriate and accurate, but doesn’t hold true for the survival of the Human race, for animals are needed for Human nourishment and survival at the moment.

So let’s divert for a moment and give you some valuable information about Human consumption of animal life. Many Humans need to eat them, but never understanding that the animal knew this when it came in. Is this too spooky for you? This is known by those who know of animal spirits and can see the sacrifice and appropriateness of this. It was also very well known by the ancients. But here is the question, dear Human: How do you treat them? With that kind of purpose on the planet, how do you treat them before they become your food? How did the ancients treat them? Now that’s a hard question, isn’t it? Let me give you an attribute of truth. Did you know the better they’re treated, the more nutritious they’ll be within your body? “Kryon, please don’t talk about that. We don’t want to think about it.” Dear one, if not me, then who? Listen, if these animals are willing to come and be so grand a part of the life-force of this planet and help it to vibrate higher by keeping you alive so you can make choices, don’t they deserve respect and comfort while they are growing up? The end result will be a far better contribution to your health. Let the scientists lead the way and do some comparison studies to show that the nutritional values increase dramatically when an animal is honored during its short lifetime. The ancients knew this and honored each animal before it became part of their life-force.”

-KRYON, channeled through Lee Carroll
(Click here for Full Text)


Life and Death intertwined Here, in a Knot that Binds Glorious and Grotesque.

A fawn fatally entangled, limps back to the wilderness from whence it came, transformed, trailing ichor & transcending onto the sacrificial altar. It will swiftly be churned asunder and by dawn we find new life. The sacred sacrifice offers nourishment that benefits the whole, impelling rebirth! And the cycle goes on…

In order to live, you’ve got to be a demolisher.
You take plants & animals that were once alive & rip them apart with your teeth then disintegrate them in your digestive system.
Your body is literally on fire inside,
burning up the oxygen you such into your lungs.
You didn’t actually cut down the trees used to make your house & furniture
but you colluded in their demise.
Then there’s the psychological liquidation you’ve done:
killing off old beliefs you’ve outgrown, for instance.
I’m not trying to make you feel guilty,
just pointing out that you have a lot of experience with
positive expressions of destruction.
Can you think of other forms this magic takes?
As an aspiring mast of Pronoia, it’s one of your specialties –
a talent you have a duty to wield with energetic grace.
-Pronoia is the Antidote for Paranoia, Rob Brezsny 104

I prune strawberries.
I make a safe space to nurture life within the garden sphere.
Beneath it all, I find earth.

I turn from the bed to find total destruction!
Lying on the path: squashed snails and dying blooms,
A serving of slaughter (= (if not >)) growth preserved.
I, murderer.

I, life giver.
I create and destroy.
This is a necessary rhythm:
the world seeking balance.