Sunday, May 16, 2010

Toni’s Apotheosis, Nonpareil, Paragon Way, Means, and Path of Consuming and Dining

Okay, I could have labeled that more creatively, more artistically: Toni’s Ideal Tao of Eating. Toni’s Apotheosis, Nonpareil, Paragon, Perfect way, means, path of eating, consuming, dining. Some of those are good, but I still think the computer’s thesaurus lacks a little creativity in some areas. Okay, I am changing the title from “The Ideal Diet” [booorrrriiinnnngggg] to Toni’s Apotheosis, Nonpareil, Paragon way, means, and path of consuming and dining. Done!
Actually, just before I began writing, I was looking at Maggie Pureland’s Soap Nuts. I wanted to make them and use them for laundry, skin and so forth. But, even before that, I was thinking about making a way of eating. Everyone and her/his dog has a book out on the correct way to eat, so I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon in my own little corner of the world. I had been reading something I had printed out that had prophets and apostles’ words on the Word of Wisdom. Lately, I had begun to be swayed by people claiming one should eat meat year round. They roundly and soundly degraded and demeaned vegetarians. I didn’t think that was very nice. After all, in the Millennium we will all be vegetarians, even the animals.
So, anyway, here goes: the first line, part, step (seriously, that thesaurus has got to be replaced by something better - I thought of “part” and “line” to replace “step” and don’t like any of them but the thesaurus on this computer was no help at all - my brain comes up with more than it does most of the time!) — Anyway, the first thing or item to put down is the necessity that one must only eat what one grows. If one does this then one knows when something is “in season” and one will also know it has not been tampered with/poisoned/refined and so forth. The second thing is to use organic fertilizers and nutrition such as grass, leaves, manure - preferably from trusted sources. Sand soil is preferable to clay soil because it is easier for certain plants, such as fruit trees, to adapt to and nutrition needs to be added to both types.
Never, ever, ever use store-bought top soil, potting soil, or dirt. Seriously, I have had so many problems with these. Okay, one time I bought dirt from CMC hardware and had no problems but the potting soil nearly always attracts white flies/fruit flies/gnats or else the eggs are already in the stuff and the “top soil” needed to be added to dirt. If you don’t, it kills your plants and you’ve got to add at least 50% dirt. Well, hello? If I had dirt, I wouldn’t need to buy it. We just have clay in the present living space and it needs to be wet to dig it, plus it is filled with tumbleweed seeds . . . way bad news.
So, I guess the first real step is to live where you have real dirt or sand. Only have rock or clay where your house sits, not where you want to grow stuff unless you have a rototiller that will mix organic matter in with the clay to dilute it. I don’t know if that would work for trees, though, since their roots go down below the tilled level and I, personally, don’t want to drown my trees in clay that stays wet and does not have the air pockets that sand does.
Second step is to choose what you want to grow and plan the landscape. Remember to group plants together that have similar tastes. For example, put plants that like a lot of water in one area and, in a different area, those that only need to be watered once a month, even in deserts (and will die if watered more often – some only need a little water, yet love it when you give them tons of it). Plants that like shade should be together, unless a sun-loving plant can shade a shade-loving plant. Some plants will kill others or stifle their fruiting. Other plants love to be together. Some, like tomatoes and potatoes are so closely related that they attract the same pests. By the way, tomatoes should be planted among peppermint. The peppermint is invasive but harmless and hides the tomatoes from tomato worms. Remember that some plants like acid soil and some like alkali. Some plants take away nutrients from the soil, big-time and some add nutrients (beans, peas, legumes, clovers). Some plants cross and you may not want that. Some plants will cross and it won’t matter if you don’t plan on saving the seeds.
I would have berry vines and bushes. Blackberry, blueberry (if I could - it likes acid soil), strawberry, red raspberry, “black” raspberry, and yellow raspberry. Grapes, but not slip-guts (concord types) – most seedless and some seeded. Gooseberry, black currants and red currants, and probably some kinds I’m not thinking about right now. Banana, citrus, fig, olive – all in green houses. (Okay, olives are trees).
Fruit trees. I’d recommend assorted paw paws, apple, peach (definitely elberta), some pear, plum, mulberry (away to keep the mess from places I don’t want it), apricot (dwarf, so I could thin them – thinning makes the remaining apricots larger — not thinning them can make them tiny, indeed).
Nut trees such as butternut, almond, pecan, black walnut, English walnut, chestnut (the tastiest kind I could find), filbert/hazelnut, and perhaps another kind or two that is rarely seen.
Of course, I’d have my edible flower garden and my herb gardens (some of which are trees).
Then the annuals and greens. Greens: chard, kale, loose leaf spinach, etc. Annuals: tomatoes, potatoes, squashes, cucumbers, melons, corn, beans, peas, radishes, onions, garlic. Asparagus is a biennial. I’m not sure about artichokes. They’d need a green house in this present climate I’m in, I expect. Carrots, cabbage, perhaps broccoli and cauliflower. Watercress. That would be in my water garden. An edible-water-plant garden separate from the non-food one.
So, anyway, once all that is decided, the ground is prepared and the plants inserted. I’d recommend plastic or a heavy mulch to keep the weeds out/down especially around here in tumbleweed heaven and I’d recommend cement or stone sidewalks to connect from garden to garden. I’ve given up watering some plants because of the physical pain of trying to get past tumbleweeds. Tumbleweeds grow fast, the seeds are invisible, and they have thousands of “prickers” on each stem. Not to mention the fact that they, apparently, carry a “blight” that torments and destroys tomatoes. The wind blows it on tomatoes. I have discovered that if I plant tomatoes on the east side of a house, they don’t get the blight. That’s because the wind comes from the southwest around here.

So, now you’ve got your garden. The plants are coming up. The food is becoming ready. What now? This is where I really fall short: eating the harvest. I don’t seem to be smart enough or energetic enough or something enough to pick the produce right when ready. Corn can be picked and eaten immediately. In our society, it is common to steam it for a few minutes but if it is young/green enough, eating it raw is fine and probably more healthy.
Most vegetables can be steamed, cultured, or eaten raw. I would only eat radishes and watercress raw - and possibly tomatoes, ideally, anyway. I understand that cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and some other greens need to be lightly steamed or fermented to properly digest.
We must also remember grains. I think an acre of assorted grains would be nice. I have no idea how much would be needed for a family of four (for example), yet I’m sure I read it once. I would want to grow hard red winter wheat, hard white wheat, pastry/soft white wheat, oats, rye, sesame (okay, technically it isn’t a grain), popcorn, perhaps kamut, quinoa, and millet. Amaranth might be nice. Obviously, not an acre of each of these and, I’m wondering, would hard white wheat be considered natural enough for our purposes (health, independence, survival)?
Pure, good water straight from the earth. I suppose, ideally, it would have minerals in it from plant sources (organic). Plus a solar distiller would be good for cleansing toxins from the system, as well as using for teas/infusions, colemas, and other things one would want distilled water for.
A few chickens for eggs might be a good idea. I’m not really sure where eggs, honey, and milk products fit in. The Word of Wisdom doesn’t mention any of those products. I’m thinking that, since milk is a baby food, it would be all right to take while healing as long as it was raw from healthy, preferably grass-fed, cows and fermenting it would be even better (yogurt, kefir, etc.). But, once one was healthy, there shouldn’t be a need for it any longer. Honey is a super-concentrated food for a species pretty far removed from us. It probably should not be used, though it is good as a topical anti-biotic. Eggs. Hmm. Chickens lay eggs even if they will never turn into babies, so I’m not sure about this one. If they only laid eggs that had been fertilized, I’d say they fall into the category of meat (eat sparingly and only in times of cold or hunger). If you have hens and a rooster, how do you know which eggs are fertilized and which aren’t?
Fish are animals but they are not often included in the “meat” group. I, personally, think they should be eaten, not too much. After all, they are living beings, too. But so are plants, so it could get really sticky here if you followed that line of thinking. But plants just might be fine with being eaten. I know that if I don’t harvest my mint, feverfew, fennel, sage, thyme, etc. in the fall/autumn the sticks will just stay there all winter and the new plants will come up from the roots. Lilacs also like to be cut. If the flowers aren’t cut, they turn to seeds and don’t give out blossoms the next year. The ideal thing to do for them, I think, is to cut most of the blossoms off and leave a few if you think the plant wants seeds.
If wild harvesting (wild crafting) or taking cuttings (flowers, leaves, stems, roots) from your own herbs, I would make sure I did not take so much that I weakened or killed the plant. It is sharing and really needs to be allowed to stay alive. In the fall, I would cut all the tops off the herbs that come up from the roots the next spring.

Seriously, I would think twice about cooking all of my food. I think we don’t need to cook much. I like the way Dr. Christopher advises to cook grain: put some in a good thermos, poor boiling water on it, put on the lid, leave for 8 or so hours. My friend, Jeremy, showed me how he read to cook veggies. Pour boiling water over the cut/grated veggies and they’re done.